Livestock is a lifeline for vulnerable groups living in poverty. Cattle for example provide a source of livelihood for women as they can use these for agricultural activities and production of food for the sustenance of their families. Cattle as an asset can be disposed of and the income earned used to support the family. This explains why a woman from Murehwa district was distraught after the death of her husband when her stepson unlawfully dispossessed her of three head of cattle left by her late husband. She had no idea how she would make ends meet as she has minor children who are all of school going age.
The woman sought help from the LRF after learning that she could get legal assistance. The LRF communicated with the son with the aim of amicably settling the issue out of court. The son was not interested in settling the matter and the LRF instituted legal proceedings against the stepson who in turn defended the proceedings through his lawyer. The matter dragged on until March 2018 when the court granted ownership of the cattle to the woman and the cattle were returned to her. The woman was ecstatic and indicated how legal aid had helped her to pursue justice.
The woman phoned the LRF to express her gratitude at the outcome:
“Well done LRF, the man was ordered by the Magistrate to return the herd of cattle to me and I registered ownership of same in my name. His lawyer was embarrassed before the court because my claim was genuine and lawful; I am so happy, this is great.”
Legal aid in rural communities has assisted marginalized and vulnerable groups to seek redress and each positive outcome enhances the confidence of the pursuer of justice to assert themselves should their rights be violated in the future.