“In a fleeting moment, all my hard work, burning the midnight candle and pursuing that dream of helping save lives came to an abrupt end. In the school authorities’ eyes, what has been reported was a crime and punishable by dismissal. What happened to the years I had spent with everyone who knew me as that calm, good and reserved student? All for an accusation, made by one individual, of something I did not do. One may not know what it’s like unless it happens to you. I am aware I’m not alone but how many are ready to voice out?
As a nursing student, I used to be in the training school with high hopes of graduating and serving in the health sector. I had one mate I trusted enough to allow her get close to me after months of being in the classroom. At the time we started our practical practice, we agreed to stay together at a relative’s end all by ourselves with everything at our disposal to make our stay comfortable.
Unfortunately, she took ill and had to be hospitalized. In my bid to create an indelible mark as a good friend, I did my best to take care of her whilst her parents went about their normal duties.I became tired of having to go do this charity work, but I never complained till she was discharged and sent home.
My trouble began when two investigators arrived at my house, accompanied by my friend’s mum, who demanded that I follow them to the police station to answer a few questions. I thought nothing of it since I knew I had done nothing wrong, hence I followed them like a lamb being sent to the slaughter house. At the station, I was accused of stealing a whopping amount of money; a sum which if given to me as a gift would cause me to doubt the intentions of the donor. I was accused because my friend’s mother claimed her daughter had that amount of money on her when she came to stay with me briefly, and now the money is gone. I did not even know my friend had such an amount of money on her. I answered every question the police asked and I was cleared of any wrong doing.
Unknown to me, my friend’s mum was not satisfied with the verdict of the investigators. She reported me to the school authorities, who also to my utter shock demanded that I write a letter of appeal. No way! I exclaimed, I was not going to appeal for something I had not done. I tried desperately for the authorities to hear me out, that I had done nothing and cannot be dismissed but all my cries fell on deaf ears.
Now here I am, unable to continue my education when I had just a year to graduate…”
This is an excerpt from a conversation I had with a close friend of mine who was kicked out of school for being accused falsely. Her story made me reflect on the effectiveness of our systems and institutions in safeguarding the rights and privileges of citizens, especially when it borders on decision making that ultimately affects the outcome of the future of its people.
This is a wake up call for the government and its institutions, especially the justice system on the national level, not to be swift to pass judgment based on “word of mouth”. Rather we must put tangible and plausible measures in place that will guide how an issue is to be tackled. This could be enshrined in the constitution and should constitute a framework to which every organisation, whether a public or private enterprise, should refer for solving charges of criminal offence.
The lack of an organised procedure is what results in a lot of people being thrown into prison for crimes they did not commit.
I know my falsely accused friend is not alone, as it has happened to others before and after her. What happens to those who are yet to be accused falsely, and those who have already been victims? This is also a wake up call to individuals to rise up and speak up! Others may be out there going through the same thing. You give them a voice and also encourage them to speak up when you do. Together, we can change the narrative and make the world a better place!
Reach me on Twitter https://twitter.com/datTallDiplomat
About me: I am a vibrant Pan-African. I engage in activities that develop young Africans in sharpening their skills and equipping them with relevant knowledge that will help them compete effectively on the global stage.
I am Chief Protocol Officer at ImpactiNation, a non-profit organisation that seeks to bridge the gap between the youth and their dream fulfillment by providing them with mentorship and leadership skill enhancement tools that will make them stand out among their contemporaries.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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