Sheema leaders bust Church plan to divert UNRA compensation cash

WAD Bishop, Johnson Twinomujuni

Amos Tayebwa

SHEEMA:War has erupted between Sheema district leaders and West Ankole Diocese over church founded schools’ compensation related matters.

This comes after realisation that the Church of Uganda intends to hijack the compensation process and distribute compensated funds using a lease and rent policy that does not provide for.

This matter comes as a result of a petition from the community in Sheema regarding the impending compensation arising from the impact of Bwizibwera -Masheruka -Kabwohe road on Nganwa Junior Primary School and Masheruka Girls Secondary School among other Church of Uganda founded Schools.

Leaders and stakeholders of Sheema district want the compensation money from UNRA to go directly to the affected institutions; not passing through the Church account as the Church leaders claim.

According to the petition from the community, expectations were that any damaged school infrastructure should be compensated at the value that enables the affected schools to restore the structures and ensure continuity.

However, what shocked the people is the information that was raised from UNRA officials that the affected structures of the schools and land will be compensated but that all the monies will be paid to the Diocese.

This prompted the area leaders and stakeholders to intervene and opposed the way this money is planned to be paid.

In his response letter, Bishop Johnson Twinomujuni, the Bishop of WAD says the compensation will be done in accordance with the Church of Uganda land policy that spells out the land owners.

In his reference to the policy, it says that all church land is vested in the Registered Trustees of the province of Church of Uganda and owned either as freehold or Leasehold in line with the land Act No. 16 of 1998.

In the context of the policy, Twinomujuni revealed that UNRA demanded that the Diocesan Administration select three people and give them the Powers of Attorney to deal with UNRA in all matters relating to the land usage and compensation.

Twinomujuni claims that  as the policy provides it, all the compensation will go to the Diocesan Account as they also consider   section 2.4 which talks about compensation distribution that will guide the whole process at that stage.

However, members of Sheema Development Association  (SDA) have defied the Church Policy and insisted that the compensation funds should be given to the schools and church Management Committees to replace the destroyed developments and lands.

SDA chairman, Johnson Byarabaha, has since asked the office of Executive Director UNRA, to review the process and give stakeholders a chance to meet the team from UNRA to provide more details that will affect values given.

He further notes that if the review is not allowed, the road project will render over 2,000 learners out of school and also reduce the number of church going people as classrooms and churches put down cannot be replaced with compensation money arising out of values given.

“We request that the team from UNRA should deal directly with the management of these institutions for a fair assessment and payment to the right beneficiaries to replace the affected infrastructure,” said Byarabaha, Chairman (SDA).

David Kabigumira, Chairman Nyekundeire Team Sheema said that church founded schools have been struggling financially under the watch of people struggling to grab the compensation.

“Now, with this so-called policy on compensation, implemented as is, we all need to come up and join hands and cause a revolution. Whoever is silencing Christians not to talk about this matter, we shall not accept.  We only need to hear one thing that all UNRA compensation shall be deposited intact to the schools and churches accounts, period!” said Kabigumira.

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