. Gilbert kobi
Kisii Kenya 25 June 2021…….The COVID-19 pandemic , intimidation , discrimination,has been particularly devastating for many women who have lost their partners and are struggling to take care of children and even elderly parents .
According to experts, the social and economic issues faced by widows must be brought to the forefront and their voices heard.
Many nongovernmental organizations have raised a red flag on how common widows are mishandled;”seeds of hope is one of them from gusii.
Single parent families are particularly vulnerable to poverty and psychological trauma.
After the death of a partner, widows often face stigma and discrimination even today.Widows are often denied inheritance rights.
Women are much less likely to have access to old age pensions than men, according to the UN.
Amid the Covid-forced lockdowns and job losses scores of widows have to struggle to pay for for healthcare and support themselves and their children.
In gusii and particularly Kisii county there is a serious issue of discrimination and disrespect towards widows on tradition and customs basis.
Gusii star had an opportunity to discuss with Risper Mong’ina a widow who was married to a dead man but on the basis of gusii tradition where she was brought and married on the customary laws.
She hails from Mwisho wa Rami,Nyatieko ward,Kitutu chache south constituency where after burring her said husband she started experiencing problems from her husband’s side.
Mongi’na told the Gusii star she was chased from the homestead by her in-laws and her husband’s mother not knowing that their intention was to sell the whole parcel of land and destroy her house.
“I was married to a dead man, all traditional and customs laws were followed to even paying of dowry confirming that I was legally married to the family”, she stated adding that problems started soon after the burial where they chased her away.
Ruth Manoti is a director to the “seeds of hope” nongovernmental organization who has been in the for front of fighting for the women rights all over gusiiland.
She agrees that there are challenges of protecting the widows because the culture and tradition downplays their potential after her partner has died.
“It’s unfortunate that there still exists the tradition of neglecting the widows mostly when there are issues of inheriting land and properties”, said Ruth urging the community to embrace the fact that people die and widows are part and parcel of the community.
Ruth tasked the legal platforms to enhance the corrective responsibility of giving justice to the widows instead of playing to who gives how much in order to offer justice.
According to lawyer Davin Bonuke Biyaki,there are procedures that are followed in making systems work for situations like these.
“Court battles lock the families of the deceased normally when there is a contagious issue like division of properties and succession processes”, said Davin who sought to clarify that the time frames of finishing the cases like these are not accorded well.
She urged the widows to always seek legal redress whenever they feel subjected to intimidation, hindered from right to access their kin’s properties and assets at all times.
This was observed during the international day which was aimed at showing solidarity with women who have lost their partners.
In a bid to empower women and safeguard the rights of widows, the UN General Assembly, on December 21, 2010, adopted a resolution and declared June 23 as International Widows Day. Millions of widows across the world battle four critical issues of poverty, violence, health and conflict-related situations.
According to the UN , “Despite the fact that there are more than 258 million widows around the world, widows have historically been left unseen, unsupported, and unmeasured in our societies.
Added information by Brighton Makori .