‘He Slept With My Daughter’
By KAPALA CHISUNKA
A VISIBLY distraught and teary-eyed 38-year-old woman of Lusaka narrated to the Lusaka Boma court how her husband left their bed in the middle of the night and went to sleep with his 14-year-old step-daughter.
Anifa Mwale told senior court magistrates Mable Mwaba and Mary Namangala that she has lived her life in a daze ever since her daughter told her about the incident begging her to divorce the man she had grown to call her father.
This was in a case in which Anifa of Chibolya sued her husband, Michael Mwale, 34, of the same township for divorce. The two got married in 2007 and have one child. Anifa has two children from her previous marriage.
However, Mwale denied the claims saying he only went to wake his step-daughter so she could check the noise outside their house.
But passing judgment, the court dissolved the marriage noting that it was difficult for any marriage to survive without trust, especially after incidents involving such grave allegations.
Anifa told the court that she met Mwale in Chipata District, where she had been widowed and left with two children with a thriving business. She said after they got married, they agreed to auction her business and relocate to Lusaka.
She said she agreed to sell everything and use the money to kick-start their lives in Lusaka because Michael promised to pay her back. She said everything seemed fine until December 25, 2011 when her daughter informed her that her husband had been in bed with her during the night.
“We were all in a good mood when we went to bed that Christmas Eve in 2011, but when we woke up the next morning, my daughter was withdrawn, she refused to eat and demanded to be taken to her grand-parents’ home. I did not understand what was wrong,” she said.
Anifa said after Mwale left for church with their two younger children, she forced her daughter to tell her what was wrong.
“She told me that she woke up in the middle of the night to find her step-father caressing her. Shocked, she asked him to leave but he claimed he needed somewhere to sleep because I had chased him from our bedroom after a fight.
I asked if he had gone further than touching but she said no. She then broke down and begged me not to ask him. As a mother, I was heart-broken but I remained calm and waited for Mwale to come back,” she said.
She said when confronted, Mwale denied being in bed with his step-daughter. She said he told her that he had only gone to wake her up to go and find out what was happening outside. She said she informed both families about the incident but his family was reluctant to meet and discuss the matter.
“Since then, our marriage has broken down, and I do not care enough to save it because I do not trust him. I want him to pay back the money so my children and I can start afresh,” she said.
In his statement, an unmoved Mwale told the court that he had never been happy in his marriage.
He said it was Anifa’s idea to sell her children’s inheritance so they could move to Lusaka and thus did not understand why he was being bothered to repay the money.
“This woman is evil; she has been manipulating me to bewitch my former wife. In fact we even travelled to Malawi to see a witch doctor on the pretext that it was because I was not well,” he said.
But when asked by the court about the allegations of attempted sexual assault, Mwale casually dismissed the allegations.
Passing judgment, the court granted divorce and ordered Mwale to pay Anifa KR6,000 as compensation starting with an initial payment of KR500 April month-end to be followed by KR200 monthly.
He was also ordered to pay KR150 as child maintenance monthly.
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