Two weeks ago, Ugandan teachers held two separate functions while celebrating their day. The celebrations cemented what might go on to become an established relationship between a group of people that has more similarities than differences.
From time immemorial, teachers considered themselves as one and through their union, spoke with one voice. All this went up in flames when government decided to pay science teachers more than those of arts. Since one’s remuneration is often equated with their value, the move put teachers of sciences above those of arts. I still cannot understand why it was so easy to give in to manipulation; surely the sciences teachers must know that they did not get that increment because they are better than their counterparts. They must also know that the increment can be taken away as easily as it was bestowed on them, and who will be there to fight for them having abandoned their peers so brashly?
The teachers’ solidarity is what made them such an attractive and respectable block. They rose as one and fell as one, which was such an admirable thing to witness in a country that has shamelessly adopted the motto, ‘for God and my stomach’.
This teachers’ saga reminded me of a story our primary teacher told us once about a fox and a crow. One time, the fox was out hunting for food but was having no luck. As he sat under the shade to catch his breath, he saw a crow with a block of cheese. The fox begged the crow to share but the latter refused. In his cunningness, the fox knew that if he tried to chase the crow, the latter would just fly away with the cheese, which meant losing it forever.
Knowing the crow’s weakness for flattery, he decided to sing its praises which worked. The crow watched in regret as the fox quickly gobbled down the meal it had planned to take home for a family feast. I cannot help but feel that by the teachers allowing to be separated by a third party, they are sacrificing their value for quick sand.
It is not teachers alone, but this happens all the time in our personal relationships. There will always be that one person who for one reason or another envies what you have and wants you to lose it.
Personally, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how people live with themselves after breaking up a relationship or costing someone their job by manipulating either one or all parties concerned. But some people just do evil for evil’s sake. Many people have lost valuable relationships because someone told them they could do better.
Others are the kind who see nothing wrong with simply picking up sticks and leaving without no second thought about the consequences of their action. Catherine Kusasira said this better in her hit song Enkola ya taxi. However, I do not know if the presidential adviser still subscribes to this kind of thinking after her relationship with the NRM party left her in debt.
So, as you enter any relationship, make sure you are clear about what is required of you and what you are willing to give that will not drive you nuts when your expectations are not met.
Negotiate at the beginning when you still have some leverage otherwise if you do not, get ready for anything that comes your way. Just like everything in life, sometimes you lose and sometimes you win and as Shakespeare says, all is fair in love and war.