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Bungoma Widows Break Silence

Thirteen years ago, Susan Mbeya of Sikata village, Kabuchai Constituency in Bungoma County lost her husband in a tragic road accident after only five years in marriage leaving her with a huge burden of raising their two daughters.

Susan narrates how she faced extreme hostility and discrimination from her spouse’s family for not just giving birth to girls only but she was also accused of being behind the death of her husband. This hostility forced her to pack her things and run back to her parent’s house.

“My father in-law literally chased me with a panga from my own home. They claimed I killed their child,” said the mother of two.

Traditionally, Susan should have been inherited by her late husband’s relatives but the family was unanimously against it.

The hostility made her leave the home and since then, she says it has been a tough journey since she has no source of income and catering for her children’s needs and paying fees has become a hard nut to crack.

“All I need is a place to call home with my children so that I can move out of my parent’s house since my girls are now grown and in secondary school,” she said.

Susan has called on the Government to give a voice to widows in the society, make them visible and make a follow up on their livelihoods.

She spoke to journalists who visited her parents’ home at Sikata on Wednesday last week while marking this year’s International Widows’ day.

“Invisible Women, Invisible Problems” was the theme for International Widows’ Day 2021

The aim is to create awareness about the hardships widows were exposed to worldwide including violence as policy makers only paid attention to other suffering segments of the society and nothing was specifically discussed about widows.

When the husband of a woman kicks the bucket, she remains alone and her problems become invisible to the whole society. Among various ethnic groups, the widows are even deprived of their ritual privileges as in the case of Susan.

The aim of celebrating International Widows’ day is the acknowledgement of the United Nations (UN) that widows are invisible to policymakers so that something is done.

Widows’ Day brings to the fore issues of this group in society to keep the world going.

By Lydia Wanaswa/ Roseland Lumwamu

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