R v. Glah is a case about a man who co-habited with his wife’s sister and mother as well as his wife at the same time. The courts, upon appeal, held that because there’s no law on the country’s statute book outlawing/banning/proscribing such conduct, Glah could not be prosecuted (The state was charging him for “breach of the Peace”).
NB: This is a purely fictitious and revisionist prequel to the story of Glah!
“What is yours, is ours and what is ours is yours”. Usually, a variation of this phrase is said when the proverbial tie is being knotted at wedding ceremonies. It tends to be the family of the groom that says this to assure the bride of their support to her. Of course, not all families mean this. It has almost become the norm for the bride to be faced with abusive in-laws who never miss a chance to let the bride know that she really is not part of the family. The situation is worse when the husband is rich, making his family overprotective of his wealth. Any outsider who comes near their son is seen as a gold digger. This is the plot of an overwhelming percentage of Nigerian and Ghanaian movies. In Kokui’s case, what was hers was soon to become that of her family; literally!
When Kokui got married to Glah, she knew chances of her being fully assimilated into her husband’s family was as tiny as finding a kenkey vendor without a meandering queue. It was the 80s and the ravaging famine of the earlier years was still roaring its ravenous mouth. “Heal the World” was being sung on radio stations in the west as white tears and guilt urged aid efforts to be focused on the continent. But for all that was imported into the country, little found its way to the village on the outskirts of Kpando where Kokui was saying “mel)” to Glah. There might have been hunger and famine, but sometimes, the throbbing of the heart silences the rumbling of the stomach.
Kokui’s marriage to Glah was no drab event. She was a well sought after damsel in her little village. With a body shape that looked sculpted to perfection and a face that made it hard for even the most pious Muslim to lower his gaze, Kokui’s hand was highly prized. So when rumor had it that she was to marry Glah, everyone was dumbfounded. “Ah she is marrying Glah! Glah! That potbellied man who lost his hairline in his teens! Ah, how? Why?” was all people kept saying whenever they heard the news. “But me I am not surprised. I have always known that Daavi Ama never liked Kokui. But is it Kokui’s fault that her mother could not keep her legs crossed and not loiter about anyhow? Why burden this little child with your mistakes. God will never forgive this wicked woman”.
In an attempt to rationalize this story of Beast marrying Beauty, the village folk forked around many explanations but one kept standing out. A long time ago, Kokui’s mother was also the talk of town. She was even more beautiful than Kokui but years of being burdened with the upkeep of two daughters while a deadbeat husband drank his life away had withered away all of her sparkle. It started when the man she was married to forced his flaccid genital into her. Daavi Ama was raped by the man she ended up marrying and out came Kokui. Marrying Efo Kofi was the only thing she could do after her family ostracized her for bringing shame to their name. Truth is, Daavi never got over that tragedy so she transferred some of that anger on to Kokui. But regardless of how much hate she had inside of her, marrying off Kokui was never out of hate. It was a matter of necessity.
Glah, as physically unattractive as he was, was still a highly industrious man. Even in the hard and trying times, he still had huge farms to his name. Knowing fully well that sex was beyond his reach if all he had to offer was his looks and non-existent charm, Glah traded his crops for sex. In a village that was facing the harsh realities of the times, his offer was always accepted. Daavi Ama was in dire needs but was not ready to trade her body for food. She knew Glah when they were both young so she was able to get food from him without the promise of paying back in sex. However, Glah mischievously opened a running tab for Daavi, giving her unlimited access to his food in exchange for a favor in the future. Daavi was in no mental shape to seek clarity on what that future favor was. All she wanted was food.
A year after that arrangement, Glah came asking for payback and neither Daavi nor her drunk of a husband was capable of defraying the debt. Glah then cunningly laid out a proposition which was part of his grand scheme the entire time; marry Kokui off to me and you will not have to pay me a dime! Marrying one’s daughter off at a young age was certainly not unheard of. The 80s were not particularly notorious for any aggressive movement against early marriage and even if the period was, a hunger stricken village in the Volta Region was not going to be the nest of such progressiveness. Talk less of an indebted mother who had bonding issues with her daughter.
As is usually the case, the daughter gets no say in arranged marriages. Muted throughout her life with her opinion never sought on a matter affecting her agency, Kokui was not about to be asked whether she wanted in or out on the arrangement. So she sorrowfully acquiesced. Packaged away to live the rest of eternity with a man who ordinarily would not have been her choice of spouse, Kokui began her life as the wife of Glah after a ceremony that was graced by more tale bearers and gossips than well-wishers.
Life during the day in the Glah household was as mundane as it went. Playing housewife was something Kokui had seen her mother do all her life. Make breakfast in the morning after cleaning the household and when the need arose, providing a helping hand to the man of the house. Except in the case of Daavi Ama, this helping hand became the default hand. Kokui was however uninitiated into the needs of the bedroom. She did know where children came from and how they came about, but she had never given thought to how it actually goes down. On her first night, she resisted but Glah forcefully had his way. It happened the second night. And then the third. And then she stopped counting how many times it had happened. In no time, she just laid down and waited for his six seconds of mindless humping after which she simply turned to the other side of the bed and tried to sleep her sorrows away.
Glah felt cheated. The debt he had forgiven was in exchange of a curvaceous lady who should be treating him to mind numbing sex. But here he was with an unresponsive body who simply laid there like a log of wood. Glah complained to Daavi but there was nothing she could do. The birds and the bees talk was supposed to have happened well before she sold her daughter into marriage. Daavi could not turn back the hands of time and neither did she feel obligated to do. Sex was never something she had gotten a thrill out of. From the second Kokui’s father had his way with her forcefully till date, intimacy became more of a chore than a diurnal source of pleasure.
Glah then began to ask for a repayment of his debt. This had never been a part of the agreement. But Daavi insisted that all that had been agreed upon was for Glah to marry Kokui. The amount of sexual satisfaction was never considered.
Glah was not a man to yield. Persistent in asking for the payment of his debt, Glah kept on returning to Daavi’s household. On one of such days, he entered the compound in an inebriated state with bloodshot eyes and filled with fury. The reddened eyes might have been because of the alcohol but his sexual starvation was brimming all over his body. Emefa, Kokui’s sister who was in her early teens was the only one at home. Racing towards her and ripping her clothes off like a bear mauling a deer, Glah pressed Emefa against the red mud walls with thatched roofs that housed the kitchen. Emefa screamed and screamed but it was the farming hours and everyone was far away in the bushes. Two humps and Glah was done. But Emefa was not done tearing up. Bawling her eyes out, she tried to piece together what was left of her cloth while Glah warned her not to mention what had just happened to anyone, else he was going to decapitate her.
Three nights later, Glah ventured out of his room after another unsatisfactory sexual experience with Kokui. Feeling entitled to get even by doing to Emefa was he had done the other day, Glah made his way over to Daavi’s house. Three mud huts were on the compound and finding out which of them was Emefa’s was not rocket science. The bigger one obviously housed Daavi and her husband. Then there was the door-less one which looked like the kitchen. So the smaller hut with the door was where Emefa was most likely sleeping in. Tip toing in, the white cloth on the looked like it was shielding the body of Emefa against the cold of the night and the blood thirsty and malaria laden mosquitoes. Who else but Emefa, Glah wondered. Covering her mouth first, Glah restrained the body on the ground with his other hand. Again, it did not take too long for Glah to finish. This time around, Emefa seemed much stronger but Glah was still able to overpower her. It was after he uncovered the mouth did he hear the unmistakable voice of Kokui screaming for help! But before the help could arrive, Glah had made his way back to his abode.
In three months, the bellies of both Emefa and her mother, Daavi Ama, were protruding. Efo Kojo, Daavi’s father knew it was not his baby Daavi was carrying for he had not touched her in years. She simply refused to let him touch her after Emefa came along. For Emefa, she had ratted Glah out immediately after he had raped her but there was little the family could do against a man like Glah but to simply pray Emefa did not end up pregnant. With both women pregnant for a man who was not their husband, Glah had no choice but to take them in when Efo Kojo sacked them from his house. Not even a man ssswho had lost every trace of his masculinity, fragile as it was, could stay under the same roof with a woman who was carrying a baby that was not his.
And that was how Glah came to live under the same roof with his wife, her mother and her sister.