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Speaking up for teachers

By Agnes E. Nantaba

James Tweheyo is the Secretary General of Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU). He spoke to Agnes E. Nantaba.

Any three things we do not know about you?

Tweheyo is a family man with a lot of attachment to his children. I cannot miss going to church if I have the opportunity and there is nothing that can take me away from my God.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

When you share the happiness with others or when you and the people around you share in the happiness and successes together.


What is your greatest fear?

The uncertain future of this country; we may have a wide gap of terribly segmented social groups based on what is instilled in our children.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

My sincere thinking and position on some matters that may bring me into dispute with others.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Hypocrisy and pretence; we cannot develop with such mannerisms among our people.

Which living person do you most admire?

None; I have no reason to admire any person.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I can spend anything on my children.

What is your current state of mind?

I am sound and temperate.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Wealth and power. When somebody has the means of getting money, others think he or she has the power to do anything with such wealth.

On what occasion do you lie?

Not at all for me, not even flattering; The truth may sometimes hurt you for a moment but the pain that comes with a lie may last forever.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Am okay and contended.

Which living person do you most despise?

I may not want to despise anybody but I look down on people who do the wrong things for whatever reasons like the gays, murderers, and robbers.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Self respect and love for his family.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Honesty and objectivity.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

People around me say I can never hold a conversation without words like sure, possibly, and well.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife, Grace Tweheyo; I admired and adored many girls but she made the perfect match.

When and where were you happiest?

When my mother made 80 years in 2013; it was a toast to such celebration because few Ugandans live that long.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be an athlete.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My temperament; someone can annoy me to the extent that I may almost stop reasoning.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

The ability to bring together colleagues in the practice of teaching under one union, UNATU, although I have not done it alone. The ability to speak for teachers is also another great achievement.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I don’t take assumptions that will never come to pass.

Where would you most like to live?

Uganda is the best place to live in but specifically I love living near a cattle farm in a quiet place.

What is your most treasured possession?

My Good News Bible; it is one thing that I cannot forget to carry along with me.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Losing a father at a tender age; my father passed on in 1982 at a time I was still in high school yet he was the sole bread earner for the family.

What is your favorite occupation?

I find it okay being a teacher but there must be a voice to speak for this teacher.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I am an honest person but people around me can define me better.

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty, neutrality, and self-respect.

Who are your favorite writers?

Chinua Achebe and Ngugi Thiong’o; they deal with situations and settings that are human and feasible in description and they advance ideas that you can test and try in everyday life.

Who is your hero of fiction?

I have not lived a fictitious life and neither do I enjoy them.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Nelson Mandela; I can’t reach his level but at least I can live in his footsteps.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My own mother who lived to see me through my education even when my father had passed on; she did all sorts of odd jobs to get us through school.

What are your favorite names?

James, because he was the first apostle to die for Jesus.

What is your greatest regret?

Sincerely, I don’t regret anything in life because everything that happens is based on God’s choice.

How would you like to die?

In my sleep; whether sick or not, I prefer to rest peacefully.

What is your motto?

‘Everything has a cause’ and ‘Always be forward looking’.

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