KAYANZA September 4th (ABP) – Ms. S Citegetse was raped by three men during the crisis that followed the 1993 assassination of Burundian President Melchior Ndadaye. It was during an armed attack in Kabarore commune where she was married.
Her birth family did not welcome her with open arms. They mistreated her until she went crazy, especially after her father’s death. She decided to leave and was welcomed to the headquarters of Kayanza province by Ms. Léoncie Nshimirimana, legal representative of the “Murekerisoni” coalition, the ACORD collaborating leader whom she nicknames Mum Sua. She helps him several times to get help (loincloth, hoe, clothes).The next day, her husband accompanied her to the hospital for health care. But, he dismissed her right after saying that he cannot keep a woman who has been raped by several men. She thanks God for not having been infected with HIV / AIDS and other STIs by “those nocturnal demons”.
“I sued for a piece of land where I was born. I even arrived at the Ministry of Justice, with a letter from the CDFC (Family and Community Development Center) in Kayanza, but I lost. Someone who came to serve me the judgment read that I lost and that I cannot inherit anything in my birth family. Yet, I am the eldest of the family. It hurt me. We are born to three, two girls and a boy. Ms. Citegetse is sometimes desperate because she does not have a fixed address. I will die wandering with children (she raises her grandchildren).
“Fortunately I have another mom who feeds me when I’m hungry, who rents the house where I live now when my family members have rejected me as we throw the garbage. The other members of the Kayanza Murekerisoni Coalition who have the means also help me by offering me a kilo of flour or a little money. Mr. Mechak Ndayegamiye, Mum Sua’s son is helping me too. I wish him a promotion to the higher echelons “.
Ms. Citegetse begs the Lord to help him find a buyer of a small parcel her father bought for her before his death in order to have money that will allow her to have housing elsewhere. “The house I live in now is shabby and may collapse on me.”
Ms. Citegetse also suffers because of her youngest daughter who dropped out of Grade 6 and went with a man to Kamara, a mining site in Muyinga province.
Farmer without land, Citegetse works for others and comes very tired with a pittance ranging between 1200 BIF and 1500 BIF per day, the price of one kg of flour. “When I do not farm for those who have land, I sleep on an empty stomach unless Mum Sua assists me. If I had a land, I would not die of sorrow like today.
“I’m getting old. I am 60 years old. Work with the hoe is exhausting. I’m unhappy. To die while working for others is hard. If I had a small capital, I would rest at the market selling vegetables for example. She says selling vegetables is profitable. She did the activity for a period of time and stopped it after having an accident that prevented her to move from home for three months. The small cattle, like the goats would allow her to have an income by selling manure.
“I thank God who pulled me from the pit and gave me peace. My God, you have delivered me from evil and you have given me peace. I still live because I found you dads and moms. Thanks to Mum Sua, I have peace. When I see you my parents arrive, I have the joy, “she addresses a delegation of ACORD which visited her at home.
According to Ms. Nicelatte Niyongere, coordinator of the Gender and Social Inclusion Program at the NGO ACORD Burundi, community leaders must continue to work for Ms. Citegetse to obtain justice. According to her, a judgment rendered can be reviewed if there has been an error. She asked Ms. Léoncie Nshimirimana to look for other avenues to exploit so that the victim has a portion of the family land, especially since she was chased away by her husband.
Virtually women do not have the right to land in our country. The law that muzzles women must be changed.
As the government is allocating a budget line to legal aid for victims of GBV (gender-based violence), Ms. Niyongere recommended that community leaders contact the head of CDFC Kayanza to help her find a lawyer.
Méchak Ndayegamiye, a member of the Murekerisoni coalition, pledges that the group will do everything to have Ms. Citegetse inherited land from her parents. He hopes that this is possible if the judges arrive on the ground and question the neighbors.