A court ruling made by the Environment and Land Court in Nyeri has assured married women of their entitlement and right to inherit their fathers land and property. 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 and hence should not be excluded during distribution.
While delivering a ruling on the distribution of the estate of polygamous Mr Ibrahim Wathuta Mbaci, 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”.
Kenya being a very traditional state and deeply rooted in it’s cultures, the ruling has stirred alot of debate between defenders of women’s and men’s rights alike. The ruling also 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.
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. She confirmed that it was a good decision and a step in the right direction of promoting women empowerment. “The Judiciary should continue leading the way in discarding sections of customary law that oppress women and deny them their rights.”
Nderitu Njoka, Maendeleo ya Wanaume national chairman, ha however condemned the decision saying the courts are biased in favour of women.