Mozambique: Aids Stripping Widows of Their Rights
Inter Press Service
August 31, 2004
Posted to the web August 31, 2004
By Bayano Valy
When her husband died two months ago, Albertina Come did not only lose him. She also lost their house
and belongings acquired through hard work over ten years of marriage.
Come's husband is among some 97,000 Mozambicans who health authorities say will die of HIV/AIDS this
year alone. More than 400,000 Mozambicans have died of the disease since 1999, and the death toll is
expected to reach over 1.2 million by 2010.
Unfortunately for Come, her late husband's family blames her for his death. And as punishment, they said,
she should not be entitled to any inheritance. "They locked me out of the house, and took all our
belongings," she told IPS.
Come's plight heightened after her late husband was confined to bed. His relatives decided to move him to
his mother's house, and she was left with no choice but to follow him and look after him. However, as his
condition worsened, Come was told to go back to her parents. "They said his health wasn't improving
because of me. That if I stayed far away from him, he would recover."
He didn't recover. And Come was not even allowed to his funeral, nor were their two sons aged seven and
three. She is currently staying at her sister's place with the children. "It's not something I enjoy," she says.
Come is not alone. Emeldina Ricardo, 25, lost her husband four months ago. She, too, was dispossessed of
her properties. And, the money she received from her husband's workplace to cater for funeral expenses
ended up in the hands of her in-laws who used it at their discretion.
After the funeral, her brother in-law took all her husband's documents. Personal documents are very