Hopes of establishing the John Kale Institute of Science and Technology in Kisoro district have gained momentum after President Yoweri Museveni directed Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to coordinate its construction process.
Museveni in 2017, promised to construct the institute in memory of the late John Muhima Kalekezi, the father of the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen Edward Kale Kahiyura for his role in instilling the spirit of Pan-Africanism amongst Ugandans. In the same year, the president laid a foundation stone for the construction of the institute on a 168-acre land at Rwivovo village in Nyakabande sub-county.
While at a public rally at Girosora playground in Nyakabande sub-county during his wealth creation tour in Kigezi sub-region, Museveni also promised to give Shs 6.8 billion as compensation to locals who were using the land so that they vacate to pave way for the construction.
The pledge also led to the relocation of the Nyakabande refugee transit centre from part of Rwivovo land to another land but in the same sub-county. However, since then, the pledge was never fulfilled, sparking criticism from locals and leaders of Kisoro with many attributing it to Museveni’s fallout with Gen Kayihura who is currently under house arrest.
Ahead of the 2021 general election, opposition candidates such as Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party flag bearer Patrick Oboi Amuriat and National Unity Platform (NUP) party Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine while in Kisoro used the unfulfilled pledge to criticize Museveni for failing to walk the talk of constructing the institute.
Now, in a letter dated August 12, Museveni directed Nabbanja to take up the task and ensure that the facility is built. Museveni said that although the Bafumbira community had offered free land and later turned and demanded payment for the same, this should not for any reason delay the construction.
Museveni asked Nabbanja to ensure that there is alternative land or compensation for locals who had given out free land. Museveni also advised Kisoro leaders to stick to the idea of constructing an institute but not a university because Kigezi region already has Kabale University located in Kabale district but added that the institute can be developed as a constituency college of Kabale University.
Kisoro district chairman Abel Bizimana told our reporter that the area leaders are eagerly waiting for the construction to start. Eddie Kwizera Wagahungu, the Bukimbiri County MP says that the president’s order needs more clarity because it’s in conflict with the pledge where the institutes were to be fully autonomous.