A divorced, childless woman’s long road to justice ends well for her





“Incidents such as wife-beating, men insulting women, land-grabbing and other forms of abuse are also on the rise in our communities,” noted a gender expert, Michael Thoshiba in an exclusive interview.

This is a brief story of 65 year-old Hellen Onguru, who won her divorce case following assistance provided by Musoma paralegals.

Hellen was married on July 14, 1979 to a police officer and has lived as a house wife in a home that unfortunately had no children. For most of her married life the fact that she and her husband didn’t have children didn’t have any negative bearing on them.

But years on down the line, conflicts erupted in the marriage with the husband threatening to divorce Hellen and marry another woman with the ability to conceive. In 1988, Mr. Onguru married a second wife who later gave birth to three children. He married a third wife in 1996 who bore seven children. The inability to conceive became the main source of numerous problems for Hellen as she endured insults, severe beatings and being denied food and other basic needs.

Sometime in 2018 her husband assaulted her causing her serious injuries which she reported to the Musoma central police station and was issued with a PF3 form which enabled her to be treated at the Musoma general hospital.




Mossi Mtatiro, a paralegal, was on her routine schedule providing legal education among patients and staff at the hospital when the two met after Mtatiro’s session and exchanged contact details. The next day, Hellen called Mtatiro and the two went to the office of CWCA, the paralegal organization Mtatiro works with where Hellen was advised on the most feasible channels of addressing her situation.

In the course of time her husband was asked over at the CWCA office but unfortunately the couple couldn’t be reconciled. Not satisfied Hellen acted on the advice of the paralegals and consulted the local ward tribunal which also failed to resolve the dispute. The tribunal then referred the matter to the primary court where she was granted a divorce certificate and rights to her share of matrimonial assets which included a house in Mwanza, two farm plots, three heads of cattle and 20% of the value of their plot in Musoma municipality.

However, her ex-husband appealed the primary court’s decision and the district court nullified the decision and distribution of matrimonial assets on the premise that Hellen doesn’t have any children.

CWCA helped her file an appeal at the High Court in Mwanza which reversed the ruling by the district court, and granted Hellen her divorce rights and reinstated her matrimonial property share and additionally ordered her ex-husband to pay her a monthly upkeep amount of TSh.30,000 until such a time that she remarries.




“Thank God for the help I received from the paralegals. Honestly, my situation was simply too difficult to even contemplate but the turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. Such diligent work makes paralegals almost saviours!” Hellen said with a beaming face.

Today she gets TSh.200,000 every month in rent from her house in Mwanza which has enabled her to set up a small business selling  fish, refreshments and garment tailoring.

In light of these developments, her neighbor Juma Kangomba said, “It’s unbelievable she finally got her right after a very, very long struggle. Most of us around here were aware of her situation and that’s the reason we are wondering how it’s all been turned around taking into account the fact that her ex-husband is a retired senior police officer. It’s like a miracle.”