A woman has lost a fight to inherit part of her late father's land. Instead the land goes to her sister-in-law.
Esther Wairimu Gichinga wanted a share of her father Kimotho Mukiria's 4.5 acres located in Murang’a town.
Ms Wairimu had argued that she had a share of the property equal to that of her brother James Wamae Kimotho's. Wamae is deceased.
Wairimu is the daughter of Mukiria, who died in 1979. After Mukiria's death, the land was left with Wamae, who was married to Annie Wambui.
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By the time Mukiria died, his daughter Wairimu was already married.
Survived by widow
Later, his son Wamae died, and left behind his widow Wambui and sister Wairimu to act as administrators for the property.
With Wairimu already married, Wambui and her children have occupied the land. The two differed when Wairimu demanded that the suit land be divided into two equal shares.
In 2014, 48 years after she was married, Wairimu laid a claim to a share of the land.
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Wambui then went to court insisting that in the absence of her husband, she was the real owner of her father-in-law's property.
She argued that her sister-in-law was not entitled to any share of the land, as she was married and had property to support her children.
She said she was the sole beneficiary of the property, as Mukiria had been survived by Wairimu and her husband Wamae, but the former no longer lived on the suit land.
Last month, High Court Judge Kanyi Kimondo agreed, ruling that Wambui was the bona fide owner of a prime piece of land in Murang’a town.
The court allowed Wambui to inherit her father-in-law's land, giving her absolute powers on the property in trust for her seven children.
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In his judgement, Justice Kanyi found that the suit land was the only asset that Wambui's deceased husband ever owned.
The judge noted that the circumstances in the matter militated against claims by Wairimu.
“The administrator (Wairimu) decided to claim her share of inheritance 48 years later. She was married in 1966 when her father was alive,” he noted.
Mukiria died 13 years after his daughter's marriage in 1966.
The judge observed that while Wairimu lived on her husband's property, her late brother's family lived on the suit land.
Wairimu had argued that the Kikuyu customary law gave her the right for a share of her father’s property.