By Conan Businge President Yoweri Museveni has ordered the ministries of public service, finance and education and other stakeholders to immediately hold negotiations with the teachers over their demand for a pay increase. The President issues the directive during a meeting with over 200 teachers under the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU). The meeting came amidst a strike by teachers in government-aided primary and secondary schools across the country. I appeal to my comrades to call off this strike. This strike means that 9.5 million children are not getting an education, Museveni told the teachers. A statement issued from State House said teachers would hold another meeting to discuss the Presidents presentation and come up with a decision by midday today. Museveni, however, pointed out that funding to priority areas such as construction of dams for power generation and the road infrastructure must not be affected. He said he had directed his Principal Private Secretary and the Minister for the Presidency to follow up on what the justice ministry is doing to ensure that the mechanism for negotiation is implemented. Even before they do that, negotiations must go on. We should start negotiating and put the whole budget on the table, the President added. You cant touch Karuma dam because without dams, this country is going nowhere. You will just kill me. The other battlefield is the roads. If you see where to deduct money without affecting these basics, that would work, he said.