By VOM News Team
Members of Parliament from Kisoro district have come under fire, after a list of students meant to benefit from the highly popularized Government Student’s Loan Scheme for Science students at University revealed that only two Students from the entire district are set to benefit in form of loans and scholarships.
The same list that has since made rounds on Social media in various groups across Western and south western Uganda has left a bitter taste among many people including district councilors, educators and parents.
The Higher Education Students’ Financing Board (HESFB), a semi-autonomous government body, under the Ministry of Education and Sports was established by an Act of Parliament to provide financing for Higher Education in form of loans and scholarships to brilliant Students who are financially constrained.
According to the list, Ankole region got a total of 233 beneficiaries while Kigezi region has only a total of 39 beneficiaries.
The same list indicates that districts like Ntungamo have 45 students, Mbarara 20, Sheema 36, Bushenyi 31 and Mitooma 24 students.
While in Kigezi region, Kabale has 11 students, Kanungu 13, Rukungiri 7, Kisoro 2, Rukiga 3 and Rubanda with only 3 Students.
The Kisoro district LCV chairperson Abel Bizimana, who categorically confirmed the list said it is absurd that Kisoro district which voted overwhelmingly for the NRM should be sidelined in such a manner.
“If our Government can only select two children from Kisoro, and have all those numbers coming from Ankole and the Bakiga, then that is the future they are secured and not the future of the Bafumbira, Bizimana explained.
Kabale district LCV chairperson Nelson Nshangabasheijja says, it is the weakness of Political leaders in the region who failed to work together to lobby for such opportunities for Kigezi region.
Nshangabasheijja called on the Political leadership to popularize and sensitize communities in Kigezi region to utilize the Government program.
Chahi Sub County councilor Wilson Kazimiri says such opportunities like Government loans Schemes, need to be decentralized to allow more people have access.
Kazimiri explained that Members of Parliament often have access to this information that could benefit Kisoro residents however they are often tight lipped and unwilling to work together.
“We are not surprised that Ankole region, especially Ntungamo district has all those numbers set to benefit because the first lady and Minister of Education Janet Museveni is there, She and other top politician leads in Ankole region has great lobbying powers, which they put to use”, Kazimiri explained.
He said Members of Parliament should have done more to bring such opportunities closer to the students in Kisoro district.
Kisoro Municipality Councilor for Central division Alex Ndayambaje says Government has truly been unmasked.
Ndayambaje, however commended philanthropists like Ceasor Mulenga of Kingdom development who is sponsoring thousands of science students annually.
The chairperson of Private Secondary Schools in Kisoro and director of Kisoro Vision Secondary School Dan Munyambabazi says it is outrageous that only two students were selected from Kisoro district.
Munyambabazi explained that Kisoro district simply lacks God-fathers, in the sense that MPs and other district leaders are not assertive enough to attract opportunities to Kisoro which translates in lost opportunities for the district.
“I can confidently say that we are best performing School in district because we budget for at least 15 million shillings annually for our school Laboratory which is often exhausted, Students in Kisoro are truly gifted and come from very humble backgrounds, so to hear that only two were selected, is just disappointing”, Munyambabazi said.
Top brass speaks out
State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs and Woman MP for Kisoro Hon. Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi says, it is unfair that some districts have been more privileged than others.
Hon. Nyirabashitsi says Government should have a formula on how students per region are selected.
She says, she was never approached by any students and therefore it was not easy to know how many were affected by this process.
She vowed to engage the State Minister for Higher education Hon. Dr. John Muyingo to find out what could have happened for Kisoro district to only get two students.
Bukimbiri County Member Of Parliament Hon. Eddie Kwizera Wa Gahungu says all Students in the district who were rejected should prepare to appeal because the final word has not been said.
Hon. Kwizera promised to write to First lady and Minister of Education Janet Kataaha Museveni to redress for the unfortunate selective process that befell Kisoro and other smaller districts without lobbying power.