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Woman blocks sale of family land by husband of 56 years

By MURIMI MWANGI | November 8th 2013


NYERI, KENYA: A grandmother has successfully persuaded a Nyeri court to stop her husband of 56 years from selling family land.

Virginia Wanjiku had sued her husband David Mwangi whom she married in 1957 through the Kikuyu Customary marriage over a parcel of land, which he allegedly wanted to sell behind her back.

In the suit, she told the Nyeri Land and Environment Court, that she has held the land all the years in trust of her seven children.


Wanjiku told High Court Judge Justice Anthony Ombwayo that she had in the 56 years undertaken substantial development and investment on the land at her own cost.

This, she said was a justification that her claim, on behalf of her children was legitimate under the principle of adverse possession. She feared that her four sons and three daughters would end up landless if her estranged husband had his way.

“I have lived peacefully and quietly on that land with the blessings of my late father-in-law,” Wanjiku told the court.


Mwangi on the other hand claimed she had refused to live with him as his wife and only “wanted to disturb him in his old age”.

Wanjiku told the court that her husband also had another wife with whom he had seven children with. She said she stood to “suffer and be rendered destitute” if her treacherous husband was allowed to disinherit her.

Under the Kikuyu customary marriage, said Wanjiku, all children are supposed to inherit land from their father.

Justice Ombwayo ruled that since the land had been bequeathed to Mwangi by his late father, he too was obliged to pass on the same to his children.


“The court finds that the parcels of land were bequeathed to the defendant by his father for his lineage, hence requires the consent of the plaintiff before alienating and dispossessing the same,” ruled Ombwayo.

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