A head teacher in Otuke district and a teacher in Kabale were on Tuesday arrested and detained for participating in the ongoing teachers’ strike.
Alfred Meri, the head teacher of Amwa primary school in Okwang Sub County was arrested on the orders of Otuke Resident District Commissioner, Robert Abak.
While Moses Kakiza, a teacher at Nyeikunama Primary School was picked up by Kabale Deputy Resident District Commissioner Moses Niwagaba from Muhanga Town Council.
The Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) announced Thursday that teachers would lay down their tools following government’s failure to include a 10 percent salary increment for the teachers in 2015/16 financial year budget.
However, day two of the strike was marked by intimidation of the teachers by district security officers led by the Residence District Commissioners.
In districts like Luweero and Jinja, district education authorities were compiling a list of teachers taking part in the strike with a promise to take punitive action against them.
Florence Sekitooleko, the Luweero District Education Officer [DEO] tells Uganda Radio Network [URN] that they met last evening and resolved to dispatch a team of six officers to note names of teacher taking part in the strike so that they are penalised. She does not say the punishment that could be meted on the teachers.
Paul Balilaine, Jinja District Inspector of Schools spent the day inspecting schools and taking note of head teachers who did not turn up. He was accompanied by a team of inspectors and security personnel.
Otuke Resident District Commissioner, Robert Abak says he arrested the head teacher for sending home more than 30 pupils who had turned up for school yet there were teachers at the school.
Niwagaba, Kabale Deputy RDC says he arrested the teacher for refusing to fulfill his duties.
UNATU Chairperson for Kabale District Zadock Tumuhimbise says the Union is planning to take legal action against Niwagaba.
Zadock Tumuhimbise, the Kabale District UNATU Chairperson, also a head teacher, told Uganda Radio Network that the Resident District Commissioner has been intimidating teachers ahead of the new term and went ahead to arrest one of his teachers.
The arrested teacher was released after UNATU intervened.
The teacher’s strike which started on Monday coincided with the opening of the opening of the new school term.
While pupils turned up in many schools located in the Kigezi, Bugishu, Bunyoro and parts of Busoga sub-regions was high, in the north, parts of Central and Fort Portal, it has been the opposite where teachers have reported to work but pupils stayed away.
Day-two of the industrial action also saw some schools in Kabale and Kisoro districts, where Parents contribute funds under the Parents Teachers Association arrangement opened.
They include: Kabale Primary School, Kigezi High school –Primary, Kukungiri Primary School. In Kisoro District, Kisoro Demonstration Primary School, Gisoro Primary school and Mutolere Primary also opened.
School inspectors are worried that the strike will affect operations. Kisoro Inspector of Schools David Irimaso Uwera tells Uganda Radio Network that the industrial action has delayed the opening of the schools.
Aminah Mutesi, Jinja Municipal Council Inspector of Schools says the turn up has been low in rural areas.
Majority of primary schools under the Universal Primary Education system in Mbale, Sironko, Masaka, Arua, and Soroti districts remain closed.
Mathias Mukasa, the regional coordinator of UNATU gave out letter to head teacher in Masaka asking them to continue with the strike.
He says they have written to the school heads not to be intimidated to give up their demands.
The letter also informs the head teachers and teachers that there was a legal team in place to take action against government officials who threaten them to give up the strike.
The teacher’s union leaders are set to meet Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on Thursday to iron out the question of salary increment.