Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Margaret Mbai: "Life Without My Husband Has Been Painful"

Commentary in the East African Standard Wednesday September 15, 2004

By Margaret Mbai

Life without my husband has been painful and trying. Many times, I keep wishing that it were just a bad dream that will be over soon. But it never gets over.

At first I was bitter. If I continued with the bitterness, I would have taken the law into my hands.

The hardest thing for me has been attending courts. Many times I have walked out of court and came home to cry.

The idea that justice might never be done makes me mad.

This trend towards denial of justice began after some of those investigating the matter were themselves accused of torturing suspects.

Then the journalists who made the public aware of certain things that I think come close to the truth were also charged with offences in court.

These things haunt me.

The many letters I have written to leaders of all walks asking for justice to be done have gone unanswered. But I still hope justice will one day be done.

Many times, I fall back on traditional beliefs that dead people never sleep and I keep believing that my late husband is awake.

I continue praying that he intervenes on behalf of those who have worked so hard for the truth to come out and are now threatened with jail. If this is meant to protect the real killers, then my husband should intervene.

What has seen us through is the fact that my late husband gave us a chance to be in control of our lives when he lived. This has helped us move on because we were used to making decisions even when he was alive.

The only thing I would wish to do in his honour is to take good care of my children the way he would have wanted and to complete all the projects he started.

Slowly, by the grace of God, I have been able to see things differently and to step in and complete some of the project my husband had initiated.

My children have been a great blessing. They have been patient and understanding. They quickly accepted that we had to organise our lives.

I thank God for the job I got recently dealing with community-based activities. Working with communities is something my husband loved doing so much. For me, getting such a job is a blessing in his honour.

To enable me remain focused and do all these, I have no desire to remarry, now or in the future.

Mbai's death, though sad, made me view life differently especially when it comes to development.

Today, after taking over his projects, I understand better why he wanted power to be devolved.

His death confirmed to me how centralised power can be used to make others powerless. There are times I have seen the truth being twisted and changed even where it had been confirmed earlier.

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