With misery written all over her face, 19 year old Uwera Uwase’s eyes are filled with tears. She is burdened by an abnormal pregnancy that has been denied by the supposed father.
Recently, she was in jail for a week before her health dictated that she be released and instead report to court.
In her narrow rectangular shaped room, absent mindedly leaning against the wall, her chin buried in her chest, Uwera sits on a mattress seemingly locked in a predicament that is intensified by the denial of the illegitimate husband Saveri Habimana.
The size of the room and the soot-covered iron sheets reveal that Uwera rents what was previously used as a kitchen.
My first meeting with Uwera, was on the road from Bathseba hospital in Kicukiro. She presented to me medical documents showing that she had been referred to Kanombe hospital to go through an x-ray scan that would confirm the abnormal state of the pregnancy.
“The doctors said that the child isn’t in a proper position and therefore I need to be put in a machine and confirm the problem,” she says wearing a sickly and apparently permanent facial expression of deep sadness.
Uwera narrates that their three year illegitimate relationship turned sour early last month when Habimana denied the pregnancy.
Before they split, they had given birth to three year old Sonia, their first born.
Their first squabble was when Uwera said that she threatened to report Habimana to the authorities because he had stopped financially providing for the family.
“The first child goes to school. We had no food and we had to pay rent. So I threatened to report him since he had stopped giving us some money,” she recalls.
But Uwera says even after what appeared as a split, Habimana in the guise of providing financial support spent nights at her place.
She discloses that when she became pregnant, the rift between the two widened.
“When I told him I was pregnant, he denied being the father.”
Uwera says that Habimana also suddenly cut off the financial assistance and she is currently being chased out of the house for failure to pay rent.
“My daughter wasn’t getting lunch at school because she hadn’t paid. She now doesn’t go to school. Our feeding has also changed. We don’t have enough food and I am being chased from the house.”
“One day he visited and when I told him we were starving, he told me to cook and eat the child [Sonia],” she recalls.
In a desperate financial state, she was pushed to make a phone call to remind Habimana of his responsibilities, it is when she clashed with a lady.
“When I called his phone a lady picked it and started abusing me.”
Later, during her usual chores at the Central market in Kicukiro, she was arrested by plain clothed policemen.
“The husband came and told her that a relative wanted to talk to her but later she was handcuffed and taken away in the middle of the market,” narrates Clementine Nyirakubumba the zone leader of the place where Uwera sells pounded cassava leaves [Isombe].
“At first we heard that it [the arrest] was about the pregnancy but later we heard that it was about her abusing another lady,” Nyirakubumba said.
“But I used to over hear their exchange of abusive words. I even told them MTN would soon arrest them for such words,” she adds.
On talking to Habimana, pocketing, with an air of arrogance he replies, “I don’t love her and those are just tales.”
He only accepts being the biological father to the first child but denies the current pregnancy.
Appearing annoyed, Habimana refutes having cut off financial assistance and being behind Uwera’s imprisonment.
“I still give them Rwf10, 000.
But I want my child [the first born]. I have never loved her. About the imprisonment, I just guided the lady she abused,” he angrily said.
Marie Kabagumira, the landlady who has housed Uwera for three years says, “He [Habimana] for three years frequented her place and I ‘knew’ that he was the husband.”
After her release from prison, Uwera was served with court summons but says that the complainant has never appeared.
In her room, she reveals two new basins and beddings that she recently bought in preparation of handing a premature baby to Habimana.
But she also helplessly says that she is financially incapable of fending for herself and the unborn baby.
She has vowed to take matters to police if Habimana does not support her financially.