The tour was so fascinating that even the thoughts and pressure of appearing in court was nowhere in my mind for all the days I spent in Mfuwe with Sepiso. She is a woman who can make one forget about all his struggles and think everything is all right. Before I could demand some water for bathing, she could come and invite me to the bathroom within the room as the room was self-contained. I cannot hide or cheat here; we were bathing together all the days we were out.
We toured the national park and viewed lots of species of wildlife some of which I have had been only hearing of and seeing either in books or on television. We always walked side by side behind those assigned to take us around in the national park. I guess everyone was just admiring the couple because the gazing we were treated to by most of those we met there was self-explanatory. We looked incredibly awesome and matching. Sepiso was kind of a giant lady and of almost my height. At one point, I heard a game reserve gentleman failing to hold his peace by openly complimenting the matching of the couple. I just bit my tongue and looked away shyly. To divert his focus, I commended the government for coming up with such an idea of conserving wildlife before it was hit by extinction as is the case in some parts of the country. Just imagine I stayed in Chief Milambo, Milenge District of Luapula Province for more than eleven months but not at one point did I see a kalulu or an impala. They have been hit by extinction. If anything, the next generation will have to just hear of it orally that there are such species of animals.
After the day’s busy schedule of going round viewing animals and learning a bit of their lifestyles such as natural processes involved among themselves to iron out certain aspects and conflicts, for example, in an event where they feel they are too congested in a confined place, elephants resort to felling down trees especially on the fence and eventually when it collapses they cross over to a non-reserved game management area. While for others, especially predators, they prey a lot on the vulnerable ones. Besides this, those in charge of animals also play a role in helping them out, let’s take for instance those that are too old or sick, are killed in selective killing known as game cropping. So we sat outside the hired room in a shade to witness the sun setting while in Eastern Province. Its view was awesome; we sat facing the western part of the country just to witness it. By then, as adventurers, we were both clad in casual wear of shorts, pairs of canvas, light golf t-shirts. Sepiso came and sat on my laps and started taking selfies. Served on the opposite table were glasses of SUNQUICK Mandalin Orange flavour.
Slightly before supper time, I took Sepiso to a pool house where we played pool table. She literally knew nothing about it and in fact had no interest in it. Out of love and not curiosity, she agreed to play with me. I bought some tokens, I explained the basic rules to her. Then I taught her how to hold the cue stick, how to stand and bend over the table. More importantly, I explained to her the different balls on the table, and the use of a cue ball. There we went on playing it. Deliberately, I could commit fouls just to award her two shot allowances.
Life was so enjoyable in Mfuwe; interacting with game guides as well as having full time with Sepiso. The tour felt like a honeymoon to some extent. We did nearly everything which is done by those on honeymoon. From time to time I had to remind myself that it was not a honeymoon we went for. All of a sudden, terror gripped me; what if Sepiso demanded we get engaged? What would I tell her? What if she was on a mission to trap me so that I marry her? Why was she giving herself freely to me like that? Could it be she was very desperate for marriage?
Our paid for days were over and we had to travel back home. I could not wait to get home and get in court the day after. I asked her to pour my drink, SUNQUICK, in my juice bottle so that I could be sipping while on the way as I did not want to have a dry throat. She served herself CERES Pure Joy instead.
I drove steadily back while chatting and reminding each other how the outing had been. I teased her for fearing wild animals but I commended her for being a fast learner considering how she managed to know and abide by the pool table rules. On the second day of playing it, I was deliberately using my left hand when playing and she successfully won two games. Seeing how serious and accurate she was becoming, I bet K50 that whoever won that game won the money. Sepiso put in all her mighty and scooped the prize. She was extremely happy. She jumped up and down and gave me a tight warm hug, she shrugged.
The journey to Mfuwe was only long when going there unlike going back to Lusaka. Sepiso hated both rough riding and speeding. So I had to drive moderately and smartly. A journey characterised with good stories might make think is so short.
Finally, we were at my residential home. Since the following day I was going to be busy attending court session, and she would equally be at work, I escorted her to her home. Having ascertained everything was well, I bade farewell and drove back to my home. Everything was fine there also.
Zulu came early in the morning to take me to court. He was surprised to find me already prepared for it and eagerly waiting for the time. I guided him to drive there as Edah engaged a taxi driver for the trip.
Some minutes after 09:00 we reached the court premises and seeing it was open already we found ourselves in. I was in high spirits. I was ready to leave no stone unturned.
“Your honour, the next case is between Lt. Jay Muloongo versus Maggie Ng’andu,” the magistrate court clerk announced.
The Principal Resident Magistrate ordered me to be in a dock to get sworn in by holding the Holy Bible and repeating a vow after the court clerk. I testified that whatever I would say would be nothing but the truth in its totality. I ended the vow by asking for help from God. My lawyer followed suit. Then the defendant was the last one to be sworn in. I was not afraid, I just wanted to make sure the situation was cleared and I got vindicated.
Time was given for me, the complaint, to run through what transpired for me to have Maggie appear before the magistrate. My lawyer did the most needful and I affirmed that was the true reflection of the matter at hand.
The ball was set rolling; again Maggie had neither a witness nor a lawyer. She easily admitted she had kidnapped the two children because asking for them I would not allow them off to her. The magistrate grilled and threatened her that that was a punishable offence to get someone against his or her will. We are in an era of human trafficking; therefore, kidnapping someone is not something to be condoned by the laws of this nation. I saw sincerity written all over the Magistrate’s face. I nodded silently happily.
The magistrate asked Maggie if it was true she had teamed up with Benjamin and staged another kidnap in which I beat the hell out of them. Her answer was an emphatic yes. The learned magistrate then asked her to clearly explain her relationship with Benjamin considering that he was still teaming up with her to wage attacks on me. To save face, Maggie had no clear answer to give apart from shaking in the dock. That aside, she was asked what she really wanted to be granted unto her since she was fighting for the children, a clear indication she was up to something. In her response, she said she could not live without any of her children around her as if she had no child.
The magistrate further asked her if she wanted one child or all the four children and why not following the rightful procedure in claiming them. I could see her getting dumbfounded and choked by saliva. She was mute until the seating magistrate glared at her. Then she said all she wanted was fairness in sharing the children.
Edah was equally asked a few questions and her thought over Maggie’s demand. Well, she was frank enough to tell off the court that her client demanded nothing much but a ruling by the court that would create no more drama between the two parties. The magistrate marveled at my lawyer’s intrepidity.
There was silence for a while in court. The magistrate had to study the matter accordingly. He started by counseling and cautioning us the psychological torture we were subjecting the children to by our unnecessary scrambling for them. He further guided that if Maggie still loved me, she needed to open up unlike causing torture to the innocent children. The ruling was that she gets two children, those who were at a tender age and needed their mother’s care very much. I was to get the other two. Nevertheless, I was to continue sending something on monthly basis for their upkeep.
Oh no, how I did not like having communication with her further. Being slapped with monthly contributions toward the children upkeep meant I would be communicating with her from time to time. I protested through my lawyer that I did not need any more communication with her. So Edah asked for her bank account number so much that I could only be depositing into her account. It was agreeable and all was well.
Now that the children had already been sent to school and in boarding the court guided that Maggie could take full responsibility of them at the end of the academic term. In the meantime, their learning should not be interfered with. However, the both of us were allowed access to be paying them visits during the course of the term. The case was dismissed then.
With a sigh of relief and some unusual grins, I drove home to change the attire and then took my lawyer to her legal firm. Though with mixed feelings, I was happy with the court’s passed ruling because I was assured of having Maggie imprisoned if at all she tried behaving in an uncalled for manner towards the children. I thanked Edah sincerely for having stood by me in such a tense atmosphere. At least I would stop giving unnecessary headache to my parents as they would then rest from talking about and addressing my failed marriage life.
Having this done and settled, I convinced myself the next important thing I had to do in my life was settling down and bouncing back in marriage life. I had to get married to nurture my children in the presence of two parent figures and not one. I really needed a companion to be helping me in various ways. It was from this background I remembered mum had briefed me about some homework in which she was busy looking for some village lady for me. I felt that was my full responsibility and not hers. Could there come out a better village lady in that village? Could she be better than Sepiso?