Thursday August 21 2014

You don’t have to be Chuck Norris all the time



By Mike Ssegawa

Our partners need our support all the time, but isn’t there a time when reality strikes us and we must withdraw our defence?

Last week, my neighbour’s child went to a nearby shop to buy some groceries. At the shop are dogs owned by another neighbour in the estate. The usually calm dogs became raucous and attacked the child, leaving him with scratch marks. It didn’t bite him though.

When the child returned home, he reported what had happened to him. The mother went to the neighbour to register her displeasure and request that her son be given medication for the dog bite. She found the madam of the house.

The madam, however, was not in the mood to listen.
She assured the child’s mother that her dog was immunised against rabies and other infections. She went on to tell the complainant that the child should have done something terrible to her dog, and assured the neighbour that after all the child only had a “scratch”, hence, needed no medication.

Soon the confrontation had turned into a quarrel, attracting onlookers and the local council elder. Then came madam’s husband - the dog owner. We sighed, believing he would calm down his wife. He tried, but failed. Pity the gentleman, a heated up woman is hard to call to order.

He took his attempts to the child’s mother, and asked his wife to stop the exchange and enter the house as he addresses the issue. Madam didn’t pay heed. Instead she accused him of siding with the neighbours when she needed him to have her back.
He told his wife off: “Tolina magezi?” meaning, are you stupid? At this point, things went domestic.

“Why do you defend a neighbour’s wife when she has come to our home to attack us?”
Pretending to give in, she called a boda boda cyclist to take the child to the hospital, albeit crying that she is unlucky to have a hubby who never sides with her. She promised to teach him a lesson for embarrassing her.

This free neighbourhood show left me wondering: When, why and how would you defend your partner?
I have seen or heard stories of people who become complicit in their partner’s crimes.
Say for instance, when a husband is a thief and the wife refuses to give information to the police about her husband’s misdeeds. Some of them may lie to allow him escape the hand of the law.

In court, a man may be convicted for rape or defilement, but you still hear their partner claim: “Those are his enemies framing him”. Oh please!
You see someone accused of corruption and their partner pleads “political witch-hunt”. I am not saying whoever is brought before a judge is guilty, or, every verdict the magistrate passes is just, but we all know that it is not often that you hear people call a spade by its name.

Would you leave your partner to insult your neighbours, or passengers in a bus just for the sake of defending them? Why would you defend a thief, murderer or rapist, just to be in solidarity with your spouse?
Yes your partners need your moral support. But how about offering them legal aid, or take them food in the cell? Helping them get away with their misdeeds is not helping them at all.

Like your child, you need to protect your spouse when he or she is unjustly treated, yet you also have to have the wisdom to weigh the issues at hand.
When your spouse is wrong, have the courage and wisdom to guide and stop them.

Sometimes, you need to call up the larger family to resolve the issue when he or she fails to change, or seek counselling for them. But if the issue is criminal like theft, murder, corruption, among other felonies, and the police need to know about it, don’t wait until you develop a misunderstanding to notify the authorities – like some people do. That way, you will help the partner and society become a better and safe place to live.