Filbert Bates Baguma, the secretary general of the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) has spoken out on reports that leaders of the teachers’ umbrella body were bribed by President Yoweri Museveni so as to betray their colleagues and call off the strike empty handed.
On July 04, Unatu announced the suspension of their strike which had begun on June 15 in protest of a decision by government to increase salaries of science teachers and other ‘scientists’ while leaving behind secondary school arts and primary school teachers.
The decision to suspend the strike was reached in a three-hour meeting that following discussions between Unatu leaders and President Museveni as well as First Lady Janet Kataaha Kainembabazi Museveni, who is also the Minister of Education and Sports.
Museveni insisted that government will not be disrupted from its plans to pursue a science-led economy, making it clear to arts teachers to return to class and teach.
The decision to call off the strike also came days after Unatu bosses swore that they would not call off the strike until salaries had been increased. But the announcement that the strike was called off caught a number of teachers by surprise.
Some reacted by accusing Unatu leaders of betrayal and of being bribed by government to call off the strike.
But Baguma has dismissed the rumors as untrue.
According to the Unatu secretary general, the decision to suspend the strike was a way of the leaders exercising their authority. Baguma says that the decision was in the best interest of the teachers (Unatu members) and learners.
“There’s a rumor flying over social media that the leaders have been bribed. The leaders have a responsibility to take leadership and, therefore, if you don’t take leadership over your members, then you can take them to a wrong direction,” said the Unatu secretary general.