By Santina Kansiime
Growing up from a Christian family, I have seen my dad with only one woman, my mother. It never went well with me each time I saw my uncles come home and jokingly talked about their other wives in different locations.
I always asked myself, why they think it is fine for a man to have more than one woman but the latter can hardly have more than one man.
Oh yeah, often times I was told it was a vague thought not until I found a friend with whom we shared the same plate of thought.
“Sincerely Santina is that fair?” What I asked, “Why are women undermined in our society? I just find it unfair that a woman should be loyal to one man but those ‘fools’ cannot settle for one woman,” Kiko Evalyne expressed grief.
Across the African plane, men have been given a lee way to cheat basically because some women have no choice or many are helpless and lack the courage to pour out their grief.
In my opinion, most of these cheating cases umbrellaed under polygamy have led to several challenges in society such as early pregnancies, forced marriages, single mothers to mention but a few.
Speaking to Tom Katongole, a fifteen-year-old boy surviving on the streets in Mukono district, he shares his sorrowful story after the father left their family.
“I do not know where dad is, I stay with my mum, six brothers and three sisters,”Katongole told me last week.
“My mum told me that dad left after finding another woman so we no longer matter. I stopped going to school in Primary four” he added.
Katongole’s mother decided to find love again after his fathers’ ‘disappearance’ but the whole clan came against her.
“You have no right to move on with another man”,Katongole reminisced on one of his uncle’s statement.
It’s at this point that I began to join all the pieces together on how women are continuously controlled in almost all aspects of life.
For how long then will men’s cheating remain unquestioned?
A source who preferred staying anonymous wondered, “why waste someone’s time and energy when you can tell them you don’t feel the same way anymore.”
In other words, in case a partner wants to cheat, he or she can go ahead with it after openly communicating with the other to avoid making themselves look bad before society.
“It’s not that men aren’t punished for cheating but they are given less as compared to the harm they cause to the women, a man can kill his wife once found guilt of cheating but he will only be imprisoned but can pay his way out of prison which is unfair,” Kiko Evalyne emphasized.
On September 29, 2022, Daily monitor published a story about a husband who had been caught cheating but no harm was brought to him. The readers especially the female gender gave words of encouragement to the lady who was cheated on.
As the saying goes that “our differences make us unique hence standing out from others.” A male reader blamed the woman for mistakes in the relationship and should instead work on herself. He ignored the side of the man who cheated on her. Do you consider this unfair for the woman?
Furthermore, on September 21, 2022, Patrick Uma from Gulu wrote an article about a man who turned himself to the police after murdering his cheating wife. The latest article is from the New vision journalist, Henry Nsubuga on March 23, 2023 where a “woman loses hand, private parts over alleged cheating.”
So, the men console themselves with the thought that they have more authority over the females and therefore can do anything without being under the scrutiny of society which is not the same case for the latter.
“While growing up, my sister and I used to leave home to go visit our friends. I would be scolded while my sister was punished severely for returning late. We were never asked why we returned late. I also heard how men boosted that they could do whatever they want and now, my wife doesn’t have to question my actions” Stephen Aaron, a pharmacist told me when I sought his view on cheating.
Our upbringing from childhood has a great impact on how we think or act towards the other gender without stirring violence to maintaining functioning relationships that enable love to lead the way in marriages.
Therefore, parents have to act as good examples to the children because the brains of the children are like blank slates. They learn from the behaviours of the adults in their lives. They deserve to be trained on proper manners early for a better future.
This article is part of a University Mentorship programme by Female Journalists Forum – Uganda. The programme aims to support female journalism students to transition from class to the realities of the newsroom environment.