Emmanuel still unsatisfied appealed again, and at this point, clouds of doubt began to form in Verediana’s mind believing that, any hope of ever reclaiming her land was all but gone. Luck was on her side, though when KIPAFO submitted a counter-claim against the appeal and when the court in Kigoma weighed the matter found that, all along Emmanuel had used money to influence decisions.
“At this turn of events, Emmanuel came to our office and told us that, he wouldn’t pursue the matter anymore, and that he wished to settle the dispute permanently with Verediana and return the land to her. I told him to first return to her, admit his erring ways and seek an amicable end to the dispute”, says Lazaro.
Arrangements were then made to gather witnesses and put in writing a commitment never to encroach upon her land copies of which were sent to the DC and ward and village executives. This step marked the end to the protracted tug-of-war between a man with money, who twisted justice and an old woman with nothing but hope.
“I allowed Emmanuel to uproot the cassava he had planted, and since then I have grown groundnuts, corn and cassava, which I sell every season and I buy and sell shares in our women’s group here. During the dispute, I lived in a small mud hut, but I have since been able to build a bigger house, which is an improvement in my life. I’m sincerely grateful for all the help thus far,” Verediana told us.
It took a long time, money, sweat, pain and disappointments along the way but in the end Verediana’s right to property that belonged to her all along was restored, thus including her in the long roster of women, who end up smiling with confidence as a result of achieving justice and with it the chance to fend-off poverty.
The unfazed determination of paralegals and the cooperation of higher authorities coalesced around her case to help deliver justice and restore her peace of mind.