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Kenyan court: Married women can inherit their father’s land

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A court ruling asserting that married women qualify to inherit properties of their fathers and should not be excluded during distribution has stirred debate between defenders of women’s and men’s rights.

The ruling was made by the Environment and Land Court in Nyeri, and stopped a woman from disinheriting her step-daughters. Justice Lucy Waithaka held that married daughters are also entitled to inherit their father’s estate, contrary to customary law and many traditions in the country.

POVERTY

While delivering a ruling on the distribution of the estate of Mr Ibrahim Wathuta Mbaci, who was polygamous, the judge said her verdict was based on the Law of Succession, which “disregards customary law and allows all the deceased’s children, inclusive of married daughters, whether or not maintained by the deceased prior to his death, to benefit from his estate”.

Reacting to the ruling, Ms Emma Njora, a Maendeleo ya Wanawake organisation leader in Nyeri, said it promoted women’s rights to inheritance and property ownership.

“This is a good decision,” she said. “The Judiciary should continue leading the way in discarding sections of customary law that oppress women and deny them their rights.”

She said the decision is also beneficial to men, arguing that when women inherit property from their fathers, they become economically independent of their husbands.

How Kenyan daily, Daily Nation, reported the story. FILE PHOTO

“Sometimes divorce is encouraged by poverty,” Ms Njora said.

But Maendeleo ya Wanaume national chairman Nderitu Njoka condemned the decision, saying the courts are biased in favour of women.

“For a long time women have been viewed as a marginalised group, but that is no longer the case. Men have become the marginalised and are now being oppressed by institutions through the law,” Mr Njoka said.

He said the courts should allow communities to uphold their customary ways of life and traditions.

EQUALLY

“African communities have their own rules and regulations on inheritance, and they should be allowed to uphold them,” he said.

However, the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (Fida) said “the court was just upholding the law”.

“Since 2010, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution trumps customary laws and children have been able to inherit their fathers’ properties,” Fida chairperson Josephine Mong’are said.

“Even children born out of wedlock have a right to inherit their parents’ property,” she added.

Before the 2010 Constitution, she said, the courts would consider the traditions of the litigants and often sided with customary law. But, under the new laws, a child is a child, whether married or not, and is entitled to the parents’ property. In the case at hand, the judge noted that Mr Mbaci’s second wife, Ms Mary Wangui Wathuta, had unfairly failed to include the married daughters of the first wife in the sharing of their father’s estate.

Ms Wathuta’s own sons also opposed their stepsisters’ exclusion. They said that when their father died in 1994, aged 84, he left the family in harmony, and that each wife had been given her portion of land.

They told the court that their father had never prevented their stepsisters from tilling his land, and proposed that the land be distributed equally between the families of the two wives.

ADMINISTRATOR

Mr Mbaci, whose first wife Ruth, died in 1987, was survived by Ms Wathuta and 12 children, seven of them sons.

In her proposed mode of distributing the estate, Ms Wathuta said her four stepdaughters were married and were therefore not entitled to benefit.

She said her husband’s wishes were that she becomes the administrator of the estate, and that only the sons should be allowed to inherit the properties. But her husband, she said, had not put the will in writing.

Justice Waithaka, while noting that the dispute in the family was on whether the married daughters are entitled to a share of their father’s estate, said the applicable provision was Section 29 of the Law of Succession.

The section defines a dependant of an estate as the “wife or wives, or former wife or wives, and the children of the deceased, whether or not maintained by the deceased immediately prior to his death”.

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We were not happy anymore – Lilian Muli speaks on split from ex-husband

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Days after K24 news anchor Betty Kyallo opened up to her Instagram followers that she is happy that her ex-husband Dennis Okari has moved on, Lilian Muli has taken a cue.

Speaking to Kalekye Mumo, Muli disclosed that her relationship with ex-husband, Moses Njuguna Kanene, came to a slow, grinding halt and they had to go their separate ways.

The Citizen TV anchor narrated that though the relationship was bliss at first, it reached a point where she felt “strangulated.”

She added that they mutually agreed to part ways and still remain friends to date.

I was young, I was a small girl. That seems like a long time ago but it was pretty romantic. He was my friend, he remain my friend to date. He is an extremely romantic gentleman and so he guided me a lot along that process, it is what it is, things didn’t work out. He is a person I respect to date

We were not happy anymore, and we just got to a place where you know we were not friends anymore, and I felt strangulated, I just felt that the Lilian I knew was getting suffocated in this environment and we mutually opted it was not working. We agreed to go separate ways. It is easier that way, there is no unnecessary drama. Once you have a child with someone really that person is your life forever,” Muli told Kalyekye.

Source: SDE

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PHOTOS: Langata MP Nixon Korir weds lover in exclusive ceremony

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A day after NTV anchor Dennis Okari exchanged vows with Naomi Joy in an invite-only ceremony along Kiambu Road, Saturday the 16th was Nixon Korir’s turn.

The Langata MP wedded his longtime lover Beryl Zoraima at an exclusive wedding held at the Karen Blixen Museum in Nairobi.

The event was graced by family and friends as well as the who’s who in the political and entertainment scene.

Take a look at photos from the ceremony below…

 

Source: SDE

 

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Murder most foul: Woman denies killing her ‘mother’

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Suspect is accused of stabbing elderly woman 15 times in the neck, chest and stomach

Bernadette Njoki Gachinga, 33, was adopted by Esther Wangari Kanuri at the age of three months after being dumped by her biological mother.

But, on the evening of February 23, 2014, Ms Kanuri was brutally killed by unknown assailants at her home in Kihuyo village, Nyeri town. The slain civil servant’s body was found by her husband, Michael Kanuri, lying in a pool of blood in her adopted daughter’s bedroom.

Ms Njoki turned out to be the prime suspect in the murder. It is alleged that she attacked her foster mother while she was taking tea in her living room and stabbed her more than 15 times in the neck, chest and stomach. She allegedly later dragged the body to her bedroom, locked it from the outside and escaped to Nyeri town.

Ms Kanuri, who was suffering from arthritis, had just arrived home from a church service at Kihuyo Presbyterian Church of East Africa.

Although Ms Njoki has since denied killing her foster mother, the court found that she has a case to answer.

During her defence at the High Court in Nyeri on Thursday, Ms Njoki admitted hating her foster mother. The court was told she made Ms Kanuri’s life a living hell after discovering she was not her biological mother.

Justice Abigail Mshila heard that Ms Njoki was a wild and indisciplined girl since her days in high school and was addicted to drugs like bhang and alcohol.

While being cross-examined by State Counsel Emma Gicheha and lawyer Gitonga Muthee for the deceased’s family, Ms Njoki admitted that she became errant and defiant to her foster mother after completing primary school education in 2001.

“I discovered that she was not my biological parent after snooping into a cabinet in the house that was always locked. I was 14 years then and I told my brother that we are adopted children. I became confused and escaped from home for one month to look for my biological mother but I later returned,” Ms Njoki said.

She admitted harbouring a grudge against Ms Kanuri for reasons she did not disclose. She said she was not bitter although Ms Kanuri had not told her she was adopted.

Ms Njoki is accused of stabbing her foster mother to death following an altercation caused by her indiscipline. The disagreement allegedly arose after Ms Kanuri asked her why she had not reported to her workplace in Nyeri town where she was operating a fruits parlour.

The prosecution told the court Ms Njoki, while in high school, wrote a letter to her foster father telling him how she hated her foster mother.

“Remember I wrote to you an SMS telling you that I hate mum. I was angry. I wish I got to know my real mother,” reads the letter.

Source: Daily Nation

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