The “art” of go ja stock
It is often said that love conquers all, and who better to lay testament to this adage than the couple that made headlines over the past year for having a reportedly illicit workplace romance at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
After a gruelling hearing, the duo, Thabang Tlhapisang and Kozondu Uariua, who were employed as second lieutenant and private, were found guilty of contravening the BDF Policy on Fraternisation and Sexual Harassment, and charged with conduct deemed to be prejudicial to good order and military discipline contrary to Section 65 of the BDF Act. The two were subsequently fired from their jobs.
But not even being sacked affected their relationship because they are said to have even had a baby together proving to all and sundry that they are in love, finish and klaar. The two did not take their sacking lying down as they approached the courts and fought tooth and nail to be reinstated to their jobs. Last week the case ended when Judge Zein Kebonang ruled that the two be reinstated to their jobs and be accorded the salaries, allowances and privileges due to them for the time they were out of work.
In his ruling, Kebonang stated in part that that constitutional rights applied to the BDF, and the army compelled a limitation because it relies on command and discipline, which are core military functions. He however said that the powers that be had no right to interfere with the private lives of two consenting adults. Oh, sweet victory… this is love story that will go down in history as one that challenged notions on workplace romance in Botswana.
The fact that the lady was the lieutenant and the gentleman a private, contributed to the contention. Although it probably happens, it is not common for a female boss to be romantically involved with her male subordinate, particularly in our largely sexist nation were double standards are applicable where men and women are involved. If it were the other way round, and the man held a higher position, the case would have become water under the bridge. In fact, the man would have been praised as a ‘big dog’ or something. The accused would have probably got off with a simple warning, giving the man leeway to find other ‘stock’ to devour.
Office romance is a thorny issue because it is widely believed that love relationships in the work place compromise professionalism. Different companies have varied policies on workplace romances, but many discourage this practice believing it as it might interfere with the two involved parties’ professionalism, especially in a case where they work directly Logically, it would be difficult to separate the love from the work and lines would blur, hence mixing business with pleasure is often discouraged.
Soliciting sexual/romantic relations from colleagues, particularly subordinates, or ‘go ja stock’ is common practice in different parts of society, from schools, companies and businesses.
But the question is, what happens when the ‘honeymoon’ phase is over and reality sinks in; when things aren't all mushy and nice-nice? There are many contentions that arise, but hey, different strokes for different folks. The male species are often tempted to fall into this trap because they are exposed to many different attractive women daily and sometimes they can’t control their feelings of attraction (or so they claim). A male acquaintance who holds a senior position at his workplace once told me of how he once found himself in a sticky situation when his department was “blessed” with female interns, who were all young and pretty.
He says that there was this particular one who was so forward that she seemed to be begging for 'something' to happen. Her choice of outfits and blatant flirting was a dead give away. Apparently she came to work dressed in tight outfits; often clad in those fashionable figure hugging high waist legging pants, that outlined her intimate bits showing off was is commonly termed the 'camel toe'. She would apparently sashay into the boss’ office and stand strategically where he would see her clearly and start blabbering.
The poor man had nowhere to look and would blush and cough with embarrassment because whenever he lifted his eyes, there was the 'camel toe' staring back at him. There are no prizes for what eventually happened because nowadays that chap wants to hear nothing about ‘go ja stock’. So you see, sometimes you many want to ‘eat the stock’ but the “stock” might turn around and eat you instead!