The Inspectorate of Government (IGG) has officially launched an investigation into purported plans to sell the land housing Bat Valley Primary School, one of Kampala’s oldest public schools. The decision to intervene comes in response to information received by the IG, indicating that some councillors at Kampala Central Division and the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) are considering the sale of the school.
Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and a faction of KCCA councillors are among those opposing the potential sale. Bat Valley Primary School currently serves as an educational center for around 500 pupils from neighboring communities under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) program.
Deputy IGG Ms Patricia Achan Okiria, in a letter seen by this publication, acknowledged the information about the alleged plans. The IG’s preliminary findings suggest that the individuals involved may be plotting to redevelop the land without consulting the head teacher and members of the School Management Committee.
“As a result, the IG has initiated investigations into the matter, directing a halt to the sale or redevelopment of Bat Valley Primary School until further orders are issued upon completion of the investigations,” reads a portion of the deputy IGG’s letter.
Established in 1938 by the Indian group Shree Sanatan Dharma Mandal (SSDM), Bat Valley Primary School transitioned into a government-managed institution through a 1964 Act of Parliament. Last year, KCCA received a relocation request from SSDM, the original founders, aiming to repurpose the school’s current location for other enterprises.
Despite KCCA’s resolution rejecting SSDM’s request, there are allegations that the Indians may petition Parliament over the matter. Lord Mayor Lukwago reminded that a 2008 parliamentary resolution affirmed Bat Valley Primary School as government-owned land, explicitly designated for a public school.
Efforts to obtain comments from SSMD were unsuccessful. During an interview last December, SSMD Chairperson Mr Vaya Raju insisted that the land is under the association’s ownership through a leasehold tenure.
Kampala Central Division Mayor Salim Uhuru commented on Thursday, stating that SSMD holds a land title for Bat Valley Primary School, and KCCA did not express interest when the lease expired.
Head Teacher Mr James Onyango denied any relocation discussions with SSDM, emphasizing that the school management never made a resolution on the matter. Rumors of closure have reportedly caused a decline in the pupil population from over 800 to 466 by the end of the last academic year.
This publication has discovered that rent payments from Bat Valley Theatre and billboards managed by the school are paid to the SSMD group under unclear circumstances.
Efforts to reach officials at the Ministry of Education were unsuccessful by press time, with numerous calls and messages remaining unanswered.