Tension at Old Kampala Secondary School has intensified following the recent arrest of the headteacher, William Suuna, on charges of examination malpractice.
Last week, Suuna, along with two people, were arrested on charges of allegedly being in possession of what were claimed to be UNEB papers. This turn of events has reignited the calls for his ousting, a demand that has persisted since the beginning of this year, especially from former students and board members.
“This is unprecedented for Old Kampala; we’ve never been embroiled in examination malpractice. This headteacher has let us down,” lamented an anonymous teacher. Similar sentiments reverberate within WhatsApp groups for board members and old students. “I heard the news and I was hurt really(sic),” an old student commented in their WhatsApp group.
Henry Kasumba Musisi, a board member representing the foundation body, also heading the finance committee of the school, was saddened by the development. He noted that the school had never previously been tainted by allegations of engaging in examination malpractice, which constitutes a form of academic fraud.
“We do hope that this unfortunate event will not affect our poor students who expect their exams and move on with their studies and lives,” Kasumba Musisi stated. He pointed out that the headteacher ought to have been fostering a culture of academic excellence rather than allowing malpractice. Kasumba highlighted that last year, UNEB had to conduct seven investigations into suspected malpractice cases, which he suggests might not be coincidental.
Prior to this incident, demands for Suuna’s transfer had gathered strength as individuals referred to his prior work history to support their claims. In several petitions, the school board had referenced his removal from Luwero SS in 2022, attributing it to a range of allegations, including involvement in examination malpractice.
James Mubiru, KCCA councilor representing Lubaga who is also an old student, contends that the ongoing developments, including Suuna’s arrest, are the result of interference by certain vested interests and a faction of board members who aim to tarnish the headteacher’s reputation with the intent of forcing him out of the school.
“Mr. Ssuuna in his one-year stay…he exposed the wicked of these mafias who were being used by the board of governors. The evil acts like fraud, embezzlement of school funds, and deals to the sale of school land especially the two playgrounds,” Mubiru noted through a write-up that he shared with our reporter.
However, an anonymous board member has suggested that Mubiruri is attempting to divert attention from addressing the issue at hand and is instead trying to create animosity among board members to stifle their concerns.
URN understands that Old Kampala Secondary School’s board convened an emergency meeting on Saturday to deliberate on the matter related to the examination malpractice.
During the meeting, the school headteacher reportedly claimed to have been cleared of the allegations, but the board dismissed this assertion, stating that there were no supporting facts on the matter, especially since UNEB had not communicated any such clearance.
Subsequently, the board wrote a formal letter to the Ministry of Education, reiterating their stance that Suuna should be transferred from the school. At the time of filing this story, attempts to obtain a comment from the headteacher himself had been unsuccessful.
Prior to the arrival of Suuna, Old Kampala had a history of conflicts, leadership challenges, and instability. The school was recovering from a 2017 strike that according to the Ministry of Education, was triggered by a teacher and external forces. The school was temporarily closed that year.
Established in 1932, Old Kampala SS was founded by Asian teachers, K.D Gupta and B.D Gupta, from Bengal, India, an ancient seat of learning. Its establishment coincided with the needs of the local community, and K.D Gupta became its first headmaster.
Over the years, the school, with its rich history and cultural background, had become one of the leading centers of learning in East Africa. It excelled not only in academics but also in other disciplines such as Fine Arts and sports.
The school has over time nurtured, among other prominent individuals including Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Uganda’s former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya, Pastor Robert Kayanja, Gen (Rtd) David Tinyefuza, Moses Kigongo, and businessman Sudhir Ruparelia