Friday, 28 October 2016

THE SEARCH FOR JUSTICE




photo courtesy: http://6iee.com/762043.html
Her husband had just died and the mourning period over. She had shed all the possible tears and it was now time to claim her husband’s benefits from the company he had worked for. She was expecting a huge sum of money to help her support herself and the children.

As is usual with any calamity, most of her friends had shunned her and left her to her own means. The only attention she attracted was from several men, who were interested in replacing her husband. This made her lose a good number of female friends, who considered her a threat to their relationships.

“I don’t want that woman to come anywhere close to my husband. She might want to snatch him from me.” Jennifer her long time friend was heard saying.

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She had been left with four children to take care of. Her husband’s hospital bill still waited for her, because no one had assisted her financially, to clear the bill, despite the fact that tears had endlessly flown from the mourners. In fact she had been left poorer than she had been.

There was also the problem of her in laws. They wanted her to be inherited by one of the brothers in law. They had grabbed everything which belonged to her husband. This was meant to frustrate her into agreeing to their demands. 

“Once you are through with mourning, you should join me in my house so that we can have a good time.” Josphat one of the brothers in law – the one who intended to inherit her - had told her, as he took away their only remaining cow. These words had cut through her heart like a sharp knife. She even wished she had followed her husband to the grave.

She had then vowed to stand her ground. There was no way she was going to be forcefully married to a man she never loved. She was prepared to go against the demands of her culture. No threats from her in laws about numerous curses which could befall her if she did not agree to their demands could make her give in.
Her misguided in laws had also gone to court, to prevent the company her husband had worked for, from paying benefits to her account. Instead they wanted the money paid directly to them

Since the people handling the case in court were equally short sighted, just like her in laws, they denied her the inheritance. There was a conspiracy between the in laws, court officials and the heads of the company where her husband had worked. It was even said that money had changed hands in order to make the authorities turn a blind eye to the plight of the poor widow and her children. The children were even regarded as outcasts, just because their mother had bravely chosen to walk away from oppressive cultural practices.
Yes! That was the turn of events for the poor woman. Her name was Victoria. Even though the name implied that she was victorious and at the peak of her success, she was far from victory and she had sunk to the lowest point in her life. She was struck by devastating poverty. Her children dropped out of school. Justice had eluded her because of corruption and bribery. She wept out of bitterness. Neighbours and friends tried to persuade her to agree to be inherited. It was hard to believe how the world had suddenly turned against her.

‘Am I not a human being? Why am I suffering for no fault of my own?’ She thought.  And true enough, her husband’s time had expired on earth and he had passed on. So why should her fortunes change just because he had died? Does it mean that her happiness in life depended on the existence of a man in her life? Tough questions indeed! Not even her brothers in law could answer them.

Wise men say that blood is thicker than water. Yes! Even though the whole world may turn against you, true relatives stick by your side, even as you go through thick and thin. Have you ever wondered why even a thief or criminal always has someone to weep for them, by their grave side when they die? You now know why. This is the reason why when things went from bad to worse, Victoria gathered the little she had left and she began the long journey back to her people, together with her children.

They could not believe the misfortunes that had befallen their daughter. They welcomed her back where she belonged. There were tears in her eyes, but this time they were tears of joy. At long last she had not just a shoulder but shoulders to lean on.

Her relatives came together and raised some money for her to start a business and at long last she was beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. 

The business grew beyond her expectations. She started with a shop, expanded it to include cereals. The shop gave birth to a salon and a barber shop, which gave birth to a butchery and a cyber cafĂ©. Before she knew it, she had moved into transportation business. Her enthusiasm, which had been overpowered by too much sorrow, came back. She now walked with her head held high, full of confidence and with new spring in her step. Her children went back to school, not just any school, but the best school in the province. Besides that, she was able to single handedly clear her late husband’s medical bill.

Because of her decision to leave her husband’s place, her in laws had cursed her and spoken ill of her. They branded her a prostitute and even disowned the children, but surprisingly their curses had been miraculously transformed into overflowing blessings. On the other hand her in laws were not having a good time. They had claimed her husband’s benefits, misused them and were left poorer than they had been. As if that was not enough, they had added salt to injury by selling her husband’s piece of land at a throw away price, but instead of getting richer, they had sunk deeper into poverty. They had by passed justice, but had not benefited in any way. In fact their lives were full of regrets.

While all these things were going on, the country was also going through a number of political changes. A new government came into force. It was a different kind of government, which brought in a lot of unexpected changes. First it was a new constitution, which was then followed by vetting of all senior public servants, to weed the system of corruption. Those who were found to be corrupt and unsuitable for public service faced the full wrath of the law. This served as a wake up call for Victoria. She knew that the new government would hear her cry.

She went to court again, to sue her in laws for misusing her husband’s property. This time she won. The in laws had no money to give her, because they had misused the money they received. They begged her for mercy, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. It was time to teach her oppressors a good lesson. Their pieces of land were reclaimed and sold by the government, to compensate her. This time she had no mercy on them. It was payback time and she came back with full vengeance, for thus is the wrath of a scorned woman.

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