Koinange family tussle over his Sh30b estate

Mbiyu Koinange.

The children of the late Cabinet minister Mbiyu Koinange’s first and second wives want their step-mothers denied an equal share of his multi-billion-shilling estate.

The children, through their lawyers, have argued that Margaret Njeri and Eddah Wanjiru, Koinange’s third and fourth wives respectively, did not contribute much to their father’s wealth.

Koinange had built a Sh30 billion estate before he died, court records show.

Both Ms Wanjiru and Ms Njeri, who are Koinange’s only surviving widows, had no children with the politician.

Four houses

Appearing before High Court Judge Aggrey Muchelule yesterday, lawyer Ashford Muriuki, representing Susan Kamau, one of Koinange’s children, submitted that there was no basis of dividing the properties equally among the four houses.

“What the court needs to consider is the number of children in each of the four houses. Margaret and Eddah had no children with the late Koinange and should not be given the same share as the children,” said Mr Muriuki.

Lawyer Sheila Oduor, representing Koinange’s daughter Lennah, argued that the court should consider the contribution each beneficiary has made in expanding their father’s estate.

Ms Oduor said the children have developed some properties that make up the estate, and it will be unfair if their step-mothers were allowed to have an equal share of what they have not contributed in developing.

According to Oduor, Lennah has developed and is currently occupying one of her father’s properties.

Court documents show that Wanjiru and Njeri were married to Koinange for less than six years before he died in 1981.

Before marriage

The assets they are claiming were acquired before they entered the marriage.

Wanjiru and Njeri, who are recognised as third and fourth wives of the politician, had through their lawyers Paul Muite and Ahmednassir Abdullahi proposed that the properties be shared equally among the four houses.

But the children have opposed this formula. They say it is their mothers who bore Koinange children and helped him accumulate the wealth, and it would be unfair to share the same equally with their step-mothers.

Koinange’s eldest son David Waiganjo, in an affidavit, also proposed that the estate be divided among Koinange’s children, and not among the four houses.

His brother George Kihara said there was no disagreement among the children. He said the two step-mothers had no children and should not get an equal share.

Koinange’s other son Isaac Njunu argued that the estate should be distributed to each of the beneficiaries, and not per household, as proposed by Wanjiru and Njeri.

The hearing continues today.