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February 25, 2023

Women can seek and find justice-Ziripa’s story

After over twenty years of marriage, Ziripa thought the hard years were now behind them as a couple. She never imagined herself being in a situation she found herself into when her husband left her for another woman.

They had six children together and they were all left under her responsibility. The eldest was twenty and the last born was still breastfeeding.

As a farmer, she had to work hard to ensure that her children had what to eat. When the man decided to come back, he came back with his ‘new wife’ to their marital home.

“He had met another woman and decided to bring her home. He wanted me to leave the house to them and go fend for myself and the kids. But I didn’t have where to go, especially with the kids,” she says.

Her husband however was not concerned with that at all, he insisted on chasing away Ziripa and the children. They would often seek refugee literally anywhere including the bush, and only sneak back in at night to sleep, Ziripa narrates.

After so much pleading, Ziripa was allowed to come back and stay at home, but only in their kitchen which was behind the main house. With no other option, she accepted the offer.

“We were not legally married and he thought he would do whatever he wanted. He even told me that since we were not married he was free to marry whoever he wanted.”

Much as Ziripa would have coped with her husband’s leaving and marrying another woman, the unfairness of it all is what pushed her to seek help.

“He continued to fight me, he wanted me to leave home, for him to have the house with his new wife. It wasn’t easy, but as I confided in other women who were going through a similar situation, they told me about Haguruka. I was at a time when everything was almost at a standstill, most things were spiralling out of control and I learnt that Haguruka fights for women’s rights,” she narrates.

She encouraged herself that instead of wallowing in pain and shame, she could approach haguruka and see how they can help her.

“I went there and they welcomed me with both hands. When I talked to the legal officer who received my case, I felt so much peace and understood that I was in the right hands. I got hope.”

Her case was eventually taken to court that ruled that their property be split in half. She was also able to get back the main house.

“Right now, I am well aware of my rights as a woman. Whatever I have achieved, I owe it to Haguruka. When I won the case, I felt worthy and rested because I was tired of the ‘back and forth’ of it all. Moving from one place to another seeking justice was wearing me out, but I am glad I finally got it.”

She encourages those who encounter such problems to approach Haguruka for support.

“It’s not easy fighting for your rights. It’s actually painful. I was unwell. I thought I had a certain illness, it must have been the stress. But I was determined to seek justice and told myself that even if I died, that would be okay as long as I leave my children in peace. My winning made a positive impact in my village, people now know that we all have rights and women can seek and find justice.”

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