This week got off to a bad start for the education sector, as tens of thousands of teachers appeared to observe a strike meant to push government to honour its promise of a 20 per cent pay rise.
Many children have either been playing in school compounds, revising by themselves or have simply stayed home. Some head teachers have become frustrated watchers of school infrastructure - to ensure it is not damaged.
For many parents and learners, this is worrying. This is a term with national and promotional examinations, performance in which could be critical to the children's future. So, the nation's parents cannot be happy that children are losing valuable time because teachers are unhappy with their pay.
However, as we argued on Monday, the people of Uganda need to understand where the teachers are coming from. The kind of pay rise they are pushing for is not outrageous especially compared to the huge public expenditure.
Hardly a day goes by without newspapers revealing wastage of public funds - sometimes by or on officials whose only real job boils down to picking their salaries. Also, given that the teachers were promised this increment in a phased manner, the government should have tried to keep its end of the bargain.
And therein lies another reason why we should commend the teachers for making their statement - however brief. In this country, many institutions that embody the checks and balances required in a democracy are being slowly but surely undermined by the executive arm of government - whether it is Parliament, the courts, civil society or the independent media.
Yet power, especially in emerging democracies, is not known to concede much without sensing a threat or an inherent advantage for itself. It is good that teachers can make their voice heard, even as the government threatens to replace them.
This kind of action should inspire more Ugandans to become demanding of our leaders, rather than seeing them as overlords who boss over us. If we do not stand up to the people we supposedly put in power, we may realise too late that without citizens' critical voices, even elective democracy can breed dangerous autocracy.