Mwamba went straight to the bedroom when they arrived at home. Zangi asked them to wait as they tried to locate Lwipa and Peter, that he would get in touch immediately he had any information. This made Mwamba feel helpless. It was torture sitting back and not doing anything to actively find his son. Naomi sat in the living room, not wanting to be alone with Mwamba.
“Mum and dad are on their way.” Dorica announced at the door after watching her sister stare at nothing in particular.
“What!” Naomi jumped up. “Why?”
“You know why!” Dorica entered the room and sat on the carpet, picking up the tv remote from the table in front of her.
“You told them? How could you?” Naomi snapped at her sister.
“It wasn’t me.” Dorica protested, lifting her hands as if in surrender. “Mum just called saying they have started off.”
Naomi sat back now, chewing on her nails. Having her parents around would just make everything worse. After learning of the pregnancy and Lwipa denying responsibility, her father had vowed never to allow him any access to the child should he resurface. According to him, the fathers always came back at some point.
“Mulamu, lunch is ready.” Naomi heard Dorica say. She looked at the door and saw Mwamba staring at her. She quickly faced away.
“I’m not hungry.” Mwamba responded.
“Please bashi Milda. I know it’s hard to eat at a time like this. But can’t you force yourself? You need that energy after all to run around.” Dorica begged.
Mwamba tried to resist but Dorica insisted. Giving in, Mwamba sat down to eat. Hard as it was to swallow, he forced himself for Dorica’s sake. After the meal he thanked her, and left the house. He needed some air to think. Walking around the neighbourhood with no specific direction, he found himself at a pub. Going in, he sat in a corner at the bar and ordered a beer.
“So I see I’m not the only one who likes this pub.”
Looking up, he saw Tamara sliding into the seat next to him.
“Hey. How are you?”
She smiled at him. “I’m good. But I wouldn’t say the same for you. Are you ok?”
“Yeah.” Mwamba faked a smile.
“Ok.” Tamara knew better than to push. It was none of her business. It could be trouble with the wife for all she knew and she didnt want to get involved.
“How is mum?”
“Mum is great.” Tamara grinned. “She’s out visiting again. So it’s just me at home. That’s why I’m here. I have so much work to do that if I stay home I wknt have time to cook. So I decided to take a break and have some nshima. They serve like the best tbone here.”
The two chatted about the weather and sports as Tamara ate her meal. When she was done she said her goodbyes and left. Their encounter felt strained unlike the previous times but after the confrontation with Naomi, Tamara had kept her distance from him. Mwamba was surprised that she had even sat next to him as she ate.
Getting back home, Mwamba used the longest route. It was night time, and with Peter still not home he felt dispirited. He wondered where Lwipa had taken him and how he was being treated. Getting into the yard he heard shouting coming from the house. It was Naomi. She seemed to be crying at the same time trying to say something. Hi kwaku ome on+2335 to be added to story headquarters room for more stories. Mwamba picked up his pace, rushing to go see what was happening. As he drew closer to the house, more voice came from the living room.
“Mulamu, welcome back.” Dorica said upon seeing him at the door, making the whole room go quiet.
“I heard shouting. What happened?”
“Eh, bapongoshi. How are you.” Mrs Kunda straightened yet chitenge.
“I’m fine Mum. Dad, you are welcome.”
“Thank you. Sorry for coming through unannounced.” Mr Kunda said, visibly trying to restrain his emotions.
“You are always welcome Dad.”
“We are here because Zangi called us explaining what has happened with Peter.” Mr Kunda continued. “You should have called to tell us.”
“Please forgive us. It happened so suddenly. I was hoping that we would have been able to sort it out today but it seems bigger of an issue. I was planning on calling you tomorrow once we have more information.”
“My son, you have nothing to apologise for. We are the ones to apologise for what has happened in your home. The proper channels should have been followed.” Mrs Kunda said.
“Naomi should not have been communicating with that useless boy in the first place.” Mr Kunda howled. “I told you that he should have nothing to do with Peter. Didnt I tell you that the day we were chased from their house?”
“He’s changed.” Naomi started.
“Did I ask you to respond?” Mr Kunda trembled as he spoke. “You even have the audacity to defend him in your husband’s presence?”
“I’m not defending him”
“Dad calm down.” Dorica who was seated next to him held his hand. “You will raise your BP!”
“Who cares about my BP. This child will kill me one day.” He said pointing a finger at Naomi, who had shrivelled into a corner.
“Damn it boy. What is wrong with you? I’m not your uncle, I’m your father!” Lwipa hit the arm of the chair he sat in.
“Take it easy bro.” Amelia, his sister told him as she shushed her baby who had been startled by the impact.
“What do you want?”
Peter instinctively took a step back before speaking. “May you please take me back home now? I just want to see mum and Milda and dad just for a bit. Please.”
“You home is with me now. That is why your mother brought you to me. I gave her alot of money so that I can have you. So you better start getting used to it.”
Peter nodded, holding back his tears as he left. He would break down once alone in his room. Lwipa watched him walk away, shaking his head in disapproval.
“He cries like a little girl. How do you raise a boy in such a manner. No back bone to him!”
“Give him a break. He’s still a young boy.” Amelia defended him
“Please, young boy mu foot. You know dad would never tolerate whimpering, not even from.you.”
“He was a mean man. Is that how you want your son to remember you too? Like I do not have any fond memory of dad. None!”
“You were small when he died. Besides, you are lucky he’s dead. Otherwise you getting pregnant like you did would have been your ending.”
Amelia laughed. “Hey, I’m 24. I’m not a child. Besides, my baby daddy did not deny any responsibility.”
“But he is getting married to someone else.”
“Yes he is. Such is life. It’s not like I want to marry him either. It was a stupid one night stand that shouldn’t even had happened in the first place. And the condom ends up breaking.” Amelia rolled her eyes. “But I dont regret this little nugget at all.” She nozzled her baby close to her.
“Yeah. It’s good he didnt refuse otherwise I would have given him a piece of my mind.”
“You? After what you did?”
“I was a kid then. He isn’t. He’s a full grown man. Besides I have atoned for my sins.
“That’s good bro. That you’re finally having a relationship with your son. But dont you think it’s too soon for him to come live with you full time?”
“He’ll adapt.” Lwipa said sternly as he pulled out his phone from the pocket that had been vibrating. “Hello?”
“Lwipa. Gavin here!”
“You have received a call out from the police requesting you to see the officer incharge tomorrow morning at 9am.”
“Oh, ok.” Lwipa had been expecting such a call.
“And Lwipa. Kindly ensure you deal with this matter quickly. It is not a good picture for the company lawyer to be receiving such personal call outs with the police.”
“Gavin, I can handle my business. Thank you for the info.” He cut the line immediately.
“What is it?” Amelia asked.
“I need to get back to the office in the morning. I’ll leave in the evening.” Lwipa stood up to look for his mother. She was in the kitchen preparing them lunch.
“Mum, I’ll be heading back in the evening. Naomi has called the police.”
Cathy laughed out. “But you already knew that she would do that!”
“Ofcourse I did. It’s all part of the plan. In the end there’s only one place Peter will end up and that’s with me. And I’ll make sure she never has access to him again.”
Mwamba looked up at where Lwipa stood addressing the Judge. Being family court the case was fast tracked to be heard immediately. Lwipa had presented himself to the police station as requested, refusing to bring Peter back claiming he had not committed any crime in keep him.
“Your honor I present you the proof of custody transfer by his mother.” He explained.
The court said collected the brown envelope and presented it to the judge. After looking through the envelope, he nodded and handed it back to the court aid, who in turn handed it over to Mwamba and Naomi’s lawyer. Inside the envelope contained bank statements and a recorder. Naomi’s eyes widened as she looked at the bank statements. She held onto her chest leaning back as she felt lightheaded.
Mwamba’s eyes on the other hand narrowed as he quickly scanned the bank statements, unsure of what he was actually looking at.
“I request the court to play the recording your honor.” Lwipa said loudly.
The court aid took the envelop from Amos, the Chiti’s lawyer and took out the recorder setting it up in the middle of the room. The room went silent as the recorder was turned on. Immediately, Naomi’s voice filled the room. She was laughing as Lwipa’s voice responded to her in conversation.
‘Come on Lwipa I have told you before, I have been raising Peter alone all these years so you just can’t come and demand to see him.”
‘But I’m his father. I know I made a mistake and I have been apologizing all this while.’
‘An apology by mouth! What will that do for me? Will it change the trauma and sacrifice I have put in since I got pregnant? ‘
‘What do you need from me? What do I need to do?’
‘Pay up what I have spent on raising him then I’ll consider your apology.’
A silence ensued before Lwipa’s voice came back on. ‘Give me a figure.’
Naomi was heard laughing. ‘He is 11 years old now. I hope you realize how much money that went in all these years.’
‘Give me the figure.’
‘Two hundred thousand kwacha.’
‘Are you sure?’ Lwipa asked.
‘Yes. It’s not the full amount obviously but it’s a start.’
‘If I pay this money will I be given my son?’
‘Yes. You can have him.’
The recording ended with Naomi slumped low into her seat wishing the ground could swallow her. Mwamba looked at her in disbelief. Before he could react another recording was played.
‘I have transferred another k20 thousand kwacha into your account.’ Lwipa was heard saying.
‘Yes, I have just seen it.’ Naomi responded.
‘Can I have my son now?’
‘Hey, you haven’t finished paying the agreed amount.’
‘Come on Naomi. I bought you the latest iPhone which costs about k14 thousand. I have filled up your car fuel on countless occasions, not to mention the airtime I keep sending to your phone. With all that it must be other a hundred that I have spent.”
‘That’s a lot of money spent. You know I’m good for it. So the least you can do is bring Peter. I’ll continue sending you money monthly until I finish it all up.’
Naomi was heard rumbling before she finally agreed to take Peter to him. On the day on the drop off Lwipa had shown up with a document for Naomi to sign stating how much had been paid and the balance that remained and how long it would take him to pay it all. Naomi had skimmed through, only interested in the figures of which there was a close that stated that Lwipa would continue to support Peter until he finished university. The document was submitted as evidence to the judge after which copies where distributed to Amos and Mwamba.
“Your honor, I would like to draw you to close 7 on page 6 which states and I quote ‘I Lwipa Kalenga as the putative father accept custody of Peter Kunda_ non marital child with Naomi Kunda_ mother to the child. By signing of this document Naomi Kunda hereby relinquishes full custody of the child’s end of quote.”
“What? I never agreed to this. Lwipa you are lying!” Naomi called out in disbelief.
“Order in the court. Madam, you will hold in contempt if you speak out of order!” The judge said firmly. “Is this not your signature? ”
Naomi’s eyes clouded with tears as she struggled to read her name and signature on all the pages of the document. “It is, but…”
“Your honor, Naomi could not fully give out consent of custody to Peter as the child is a marital son between Naomi and Mwamba Chiti because the later accepted the child as his according to the Chapter 64 of the laws of Zambia, Affiliation and Maintenance of Children Act.
Part 1, section 2 which contains the interpretation of terminology. And it states that:
“marital child” includes-
(a) a legitimated person within the meaning of the Legitimacy Act;
(b) an adopted child within the meaning of the Adoption Act; and
(c) a child of either party to a marriage who has been accepted by the other party as a child of the family;
Therefore Peter falls under category c. As such this document is void unless it contained both signatures of Naomi and Mwamba.”
“I deem this document nullified on the grounds presented by the prosecutors.” The judge announced.
Tbc, drop your comments
Truth of the heart episode 26 & 27