Random musing: Now it’s time to blame the victim -The story of Wezina


There was a time in Wezina land that my grandfather told me about. My grandfather is late Cotton Acho Amadi Acheru and he told me a lot of stories, and this is one;
Wezina had an old and very weak king or Nye Nwe Eli at the time. He was not just old, he was weak and sick.
During his reign, things went bad for Wezina Kingdom. External forces ravaged the land and Wezina lost lots of wars and a lot of its land. Farmers could no longer till their land because it had either been lost to external oppressors, or they were too scared to go out. And this led to lack of food in the land.
The fisher men could not go to the river and the hunters could not go to the forest.
It was a very difficult time for Wezina Kingdom. Yet, their king just remained in the palace doing nothing. At a time, the rumour mill said he had died and had been replaced secretly by a look alike king. The truth was that the kingship was to move to another family at the end of the tenure of this weak king which a few people did not want. A few who were either part of the family of the ruling king, or beneficiaries from other families. So, rather than announce that the king had passed on, they just replaced him with a look alike.
But had he really passed on? Nobody knew for sure. It was just a rumour that could not be verified.
While all this was happening, Wezina continued to suffer.
The king ensured that the whole council of chiefs were members of his own family which was against the laws guiding the formation of Wezina kingdom.
When other families tried to produce food and other items to sustain them, he made sure a larger percentage was taken to the palace to be shared amongst his family. But when his family produced, it was never shared.
People were not happy, but they stopped complaining because a few who did, either mysteriously died, were thrown in prison or banished from the kingdom.
So, the people just continued to live their lives and remain hopeful that this king would die one day and power would change hands. At this time, they did not even care if somebody from the king’s own family continued to reign, they just wanted him out but could do nothing about it. They were tired of the reign of the old, sick and weak king.
But many years into the reign of this king, Wezina was faced with another challenge. Armed marauders would enter the kingdom, abduct people and go away with them. This affected almost every family in the land who had farmers, hunters, traders or fishermen.
Sometimes, these people were enslaved wherever they were taken to, and at other times, they would be killed.
This went on for too long and the people became even more worried.
They sent emissaries to the palace to let the king understand what was going on, but they could not see the king and they did not know if the messages they left even got to him. How could they not see their king, even in times of crisis like these?
It seemed they were on their own and had to find a way to fend for, and protect themselves.
So, they began to organise search parties as soon as any of their family members were kidnapped as it seemed that the palace could no longer protect them.
Their search parties would go into the bushes and try to track the kidnappers, succeeding sometimes and at other times, the search not being fruitful. This went on for about three years until the most shocking news came out of the king’s palace;
After a council meeting, the rumours spread in the community that the palace was thinking seriously about placing a ban on search parties to rescue kidnap victims. The people could not understand why the palace was trying to stop them from rescuing their own family members. It was unbelievable.
It came as a surprise to the people of Wezina and a lot were angry and it was discussed in hushed tones, especially at twilight and they could not understand.
Their family were being kidnapped, and taken away as slaves, the palace could do nothing about it and when they tried to rescue their own loved ones they were now being told that it was no longer allowed?
The stories coming out of the palace said defaulters would be tried and if found guilty banished from the land.
The victims of the crime were now being hunted by those who should naturally protect them. They would be thrown out of Wezina Kingdom or sent to prison if they organized search parties to rescue their kidnapped family members.
But again, they could do nothing about it, but wait until the king dies and another one takes over while the hope that the new king would be better.
Wezina Kingdom, four hundred years ago.

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