LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Last week, one judge took a powerful stand for Tasiyana and her siblings. After a year-long trial, the uncle who stole their family’s home and left them penniless was convicted for his crimes. It is the end to a very long battle for justice – a battle that started 16 years ago.
When her father passed away in 1996, Tasiyana’s uncle threw her siblings from their home, taking the property for himself. Relying on their mother’s meager wages for shelter and food, all four children were forced to drop out of school and work to help the family survive. Despite Zambian laws that make it a crime to steal a home or inheritance from widows or orphans, their powerful uncle evaded arrest and lived in comfort in the home that should have been theirs.
Last year, IJM met Tasiyana and worked with Zambian police to secure the uncle’s arrest at last. Since then, IJM’s lawyers collaborated with police prosecutors to expose his crimes in court. Last week, justice was delivered as the court convicted Tasiyana’s uncle. He now awaits sentencing in police custody.
“Justice has finally prevailed,” says Church and Community Relations Coordinator Pius Chisha. “A clear message has been sent to others that property grabbing is an offence and punishable by law.”
The court ruled that Tasiyana and her siblings should be given their rightful home. They are free to move back or rent the house for critical income.
Tasiyana’s life looks entirely different than when IJM first met her. She has excelled in a business skills training course, offered by the IJM Zambia aftercare team. Today, she is a small business owner who creates beautiful clothing and beaded jewelry. And now, with their rights restored, she and her siblings can have a beautiful future as well.