HUMILIATED, TRAUMATISED

Widows seek agency to fight for their rights

Lobby groups push for fund to empower them economically

In Summary

• Kamande said a widows' fund should be set up to empower widows economically through entrepreneurship ventures.

• Nyangau said they want the government set up the National Council of Widows to protect widows.  

Widows want a special fund set up for them to improve their economic status. 

They also want a special agency formed to help champion their rights at the national level.

Diana Kamande of Come Together Widows and Orphans Organisation and Gladys Nyangau of  Rise Up Widows organisation said many widow across the country are being treated in an undignified way. 

The two spoke yesterday at Jogoo Primary School in Kisii where the Kisii Widows Chapter was launched. Ombudsman official Amilia Otono was present.

Kamande said widows are a vulnerable group and many of them lack resources. She said a widows' fund should be set up to empower widows economically through entrepreneurship ventures.

"Widows find themselves in a difficult position when their loved ones die. They have no money to meet their needs and to educate  their children. If the fund is established, it will help a great deal," Kamande said.

Kamande and Nyangau said most of the Sh20 billion held by the Unclaimed Assets Authority belongs to widows. They said some of them lack information on how to claim them.

"We have held talks with them, and the procedures have been made easier. We urge them to visit the agency so that they can get help," Kamande said.

Nyangau said they want the government set up the National Council of Widows to protect widows.  

 

She said many widows especially in Kisii are going through hell at the hands of their in-laws. Nyangau said the agency can handle cases such as the ones in which widows are branded witches by people who have interest in their land. 

She also supported calls for the establishment of a Widows Fund to help widows start businesses. "Widows constitute a critical component of our society and they need financial support to boost their economic status" Nyangau said.

Nyangau said although inheritances disputes are not common in Kisii and Nyamira counties, a few widows  have been forced out of their land for refusing to be inherited by their in-laws.

"Inheritance should not be forced down the throat of women who have lost their husbands. It is more degrading, traumatising and humiliating when this happens  in front of the children," Nyangau said.

Ombudsman official Amilia Otono said they have been receiving many complaints  from widows over pension and land grabbing.

She said the agency they will continue following up on the complaints to ensure widows get justice.