Court Rules Women Can Inherit Parent’s Wealth

March 18, 2022

All children are eligible to inherit parental property regardless of their gender, a court in Mombasa has ruled.

Justice John Onyiego delivered the ruling in a case in which a man had sought to block his sisters from inheriting their late father’s property.

The petitioner, Mr Peter Tole Kiwinga, had argued that Taita customs prohibit women from inheriting land from their parents.

Interestingly, his own brothers had disagreed with him as they wanted their sisters to get a share of the property in Wundanyi.

Kiwinga further argued that being the only son of the first wife of the deceased, he is entitled to a bigger share.

Kiwinga had moved to a higher court to appeal a ruling from a lower court that ruled in favor of his sisters.

On November 25, 2020, the lower court ruled the daughters were entitled to inherit their father’s estate and could not be discriminated against on account of gender.

Consequently, the court distributed the assets to the daughters.

In his appeal, Kiwinga wanted the court to stop the implementation of the ruling. He also wanted the decision suspended pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

But Justice Onyiego upheld the earlier ruling saying the law recognises any child as capable of inheriting wealth regardless of their gender.

The judge also found the appeal was filed after the stipulated time and 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 dismissed the appeal as baseless since 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.

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