Thursday July 31 2014

Wife swapping? It is not funny

By Mike Ssegawa

A plane lands on Mityana Road – the whole country is mesmerised. It is news! People walk kilometres to go see the phenomenon in this part of the world.
It is however not new that airplanes take-off or touch down on tarmac. Only that – the airport tarmac happens to be their designated runway.

Mityana Road is novel today because it is not an accepted tarmac for planes to land. And from testimonies I heard on radio and watched on TV, many people were seeing the “flying bird” with their naked eyes for the first time.

And that’s the lesson today: I won’t therefore dwell on reminding you that fidelity in marriage is necessary as that is like saying planes land and take off at airports. However, when you do things that bring shame in your marriage, you become a local tourist attraction like the Mityana Road plane has become.

Case in point, a newspaper article in mid-July reported two men in Kumi District swapping their wives – publicly!

Without going into the nitty-gritties; a story went that one man cheated with another’s wife. When the philandering couple was caught, the “victims” decided to do the unbelievable; they didn’t quiet their marital homes in protest– no. That’s like planes landing at an airfield. They just agreed to marry, leaving their philandering spouses no option but to also make official whatever they have been enjoying behind their spouses’ back.

Case 2: In Mombasa Kenya, two men, Sylvester Mwendwa and Elijah Kimani realised that a woman, each believed was his, was cheating on both of them. They made a contract allowing them to live in the same house with their wife. And together, to raise any children she bears.

This is called polyandry which is illegal in many societies, including Uganda.
Mwendwa, 26 had the courtesy to speak to the press: “It could have been very dangerous if the other man would have come to her house and caught me…so our agreement is good as it sets boundaries and helps us keep peace.”

His fear was being caught. He was not saddened he shared the girl with another man! Another crash-landing.

Now – infidelities are not new in our midst. But when people make cheating official, that is what bothers me a little. I am equally confused like the pilot who landed the plane in the middle of the road!

An old friend of mine says, there are things he can’t share anyhow – Albeit – you can only do so at your own peril. He puts it this way: “Take away my wealth but two things I don’t share – my toothbrush and girlfriend”. Isn’t he right?
There are things we guard jealously. We share money. And much as case files on land conflicts are too many for comfort in Uganda’s courts –we can also agree to share land.

Unlike land and money or anything else, swapping and sharing partners – rather officially - is crash-landing. It may look like people involved have a chance to do what they like doing without feeling guilty – but – who forgets the reality that you’re exposed to disease, and heart-breaks?
People will come from east and west to see a man who shares or swaps his wife. It is not funny.