The law and relationships

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The fear of finding out that your partner is involved in criminal activities is what has made many people uninterested in each other’s activities

A local celebrity was recently arrested and summarily sent to a maximum prison. Following the arrest, the long arm of the law also detained some members of his immediate family, including his wife, to help them with investigations. The incident got me reflecting on other innocent partners that have found themselves caught unawares in the middle of their spouse’s storm.

For instance, it is strongly believed that South African freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela’s first marriage broke down shortly after the Rivonia trial. His wife at the time, Evelyne was a Jehovah’s Witness and her religious beliefs did not align with Mandela’s political activities, so they parted ways.  Mandela was lucky to find a kindred spirit in Winnie Madikizela who took over her when he was consqently incacerated for 27 years. Winnie, from then on took over her husband’s fight and she instrumental was instrumental in ANC’s political achievements.

Unfortunately, as the Luganda saying goes that they who nurse the dying do not necessarily become heirs, Winnie did not reap as much from the movement as she had sowed. Some couples are fortunate enough to have similar interests such as Winnie and Nelson Mandela. Others are so opposed to each other’s beliefs that they have chosen the policy of silence.

Indifferent living

Because of their lack of interest in each other’s lives, they are often caught unawares whenever things go pear shaped and they find themselves in the mighty hand of the law.

For this article, I took it upon myself to do some basic research about how much couples knew about each other’s activities and found that only four in 10 women have a vague idea of what their husbands’ jobs entail.

Only two out of ten know exactly what their husbands do. Why are we so disinterested in our partners’ lives. If you can never discuss with the one person closest to you the ups and downs of the part of your life that takes the biggest chunk of your time, whom will you discuss with? And what are we scared of finding out anyway? I got my answer from one of the couples I interviewed.

The woman confessed that for the first 10 years of her marriage she had no idea what her husband did for a living. She had last asked him what he did on their first date and he told her such a confusing tale about his job that she never asked again.

Little did she know that fate was planning a nasty surprise in form of a raid on their home just as they sat down for dinner. The husband who seemed to have anticipated the raid, disguised himself as the shamba boy and slipped through the detectives’ fingers, disappearing into the night.

After this incident there was no way of evading the discussion which resulted in the couple’s decision to restrategise and find a more lawful source of income.

After the woman’s narration, I realised that the fear of finding out that your partner is involved in criminal activities is what has made many people uninterested in each other’s work.

My advice regarding this choice of action is that your unawareness of your partner’s criminality does not save you. After all, ignorance is not defense in the face of the law.

Be more involved

So I urge you not to allow yourself to be a victim. If your partner only leaves home under the cover of darkness and comes back with bags of money, I think you need to have a frank discussion about it. If they claim to run a local grocery store whose capital is less than Shs3m and you find a brand new 4MATIC in the compound, do not fall for their ruse of attributing it to the goodness of the Lord. If it is too good to be true, chances are that it is not true.

By keeping silent, you are not only making yourself an accessory to their activities but also abdicating your role as a friend or a partner.

One of your roles as a friend is to be as honest as possible if you see them going astray. Like the common joke goes, if you are both always thinking the same thing, then, there is no need for one of you.

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