The World Teachers’ Day national celebrations at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds on Wednesday were mired by exchanges and warnings from both the teachers’ representatives and President Museveni.
The celebrations that involved the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni Kataaha started on a good note, with teachers entertaining the audience and receiving awards of excellency from New Vision Group boss Don Wanyama.
Later, Uganda National Teachers’ Union Secretary General Filbert Baguma spoke and asked Museveni for salary increments to be reflected across the board, not only to scientists.
According to Baguma, Museveni’s decision to insist on scientists had affected teamwork in schools, he informed the President that whereas he remains committed to his grand plan for scientists, this does not take away the fact that a 300% salary increment for one category of teachers versus nothing (0%) for others is unfair.
“We appreciate what was given to one category of teachers and we look forward to you keeping your promise to bring all other categories of teachers on board since the increment has left the teaching fraternity disunited and has affected the teamwork which is required for the delivery of quality education,” Baguma said.
Baguma went on and on about the plight of teachers and the call for salary increments for others until Museveni lost it, he said he is not into witchcraft to produce money from nowhere because people need it.
“I am not God, who said let there be and it happens, I do not have those powers. We must prioritize and if any of you is against prioritization, then we disagree. Stop this indiscipline of threatening me,” Museveni warned.
He continued and said that he is very willing to fall out with teachers.
“This issue of salaries, this one must get salary etc and they must get it tomorrow, if they do not get it tomorrow, there will be trouble.
The president warned Baguma and the group to avoid threatening him and distracting the government from the science-led strategy, asking that if they have nothing else to address as far as education is concerned, they should not call him.
“I really want less obstruction and I will not accept threats,” he said before calling for the closure of the event.
This is not the first time Museveni is warning the teachers, earlier this year, he lost his cool at Kololo and refused to proceed with a meeting with UNATU after they insisted on salary yet he wanted them to come to an agreement.
He cut them short, called for anthems to play and walked out on them.