What you need to know:
- Petitioner had argued that in Taita customs, women cannot inherit land from their parents.
- The court found that the daughters were entitled to inherit their father’s estate.
A court in Mombasa has ruled that all children can inherit parental wealth regardless of their gender.
While delivering a ruling in a case in which a man had sought to block his sisters from inheriting property left behind by their late father, Justice John Onyiego said the question of gender is irrelevant.
“Distribution of an estate is legally made to children, spouses or any other dependent. The issue of gender is irrelevant. To that extent, I do not find the appeal arguable,” said the judge.
Mr Peter Tole Kiwinga had argued that in Taita customs, women cannot inherit land from their parents. He had disagreed with his brothers on whether their sisters were to also benefit from family property.
The brothers wanted their sisters to get a share of the property in Wundanyi.
“Taita customs do not allow a female child to inherit property from a deceased parent,” Mr Kiwinga argued.
He claimed that being the only son of the first wife of the deceased, he should get a bigger share. Four siblings are fighting over the management and distribution of Erasto Kiwinga Tole’s estate.
After reviewing evidence, the court found in its ruling of November 25, 2020 that the deceased's sons had received their respective shares from their father as gifts during his lifetime.
The court further found that the daughters were entitled to inherit their father’s estate and could not be discriminated against on account of gender. As a consequence, the court distributed the assets to the daughters.
However, Mr Kiwinga was not satisfied with the judgment and challenged it in a higher court. He wanted the court to stop the implementation of the ruling. He also wanted the decision suspended pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
Justice Onyiego held that his argument was baseless because the law recognises any child as capable of inheriting wealth regardless of their gender. The judge also found that the appeal was filed way beyond the stipulated time and that there was no reason given for the delay.
“In the instant case, the 10 months’ delay has no justification. There is a reason why 30 days’ window to lodge an appeal was given. Where there is no good explanation given for 10 month’s delay, the court will not exercise its discretion in aid of an indolent party,” said Justice Onyiego.
He also said that the appeal was “not arguable” and had “no chances of success” based on the ground provided in the memorandum of appeal.