Nairobi court stops woman from disinheriting her daughter-in-law

Woman registered land in her name and took a loan using it as collateral. The land was bought by her son who had allowed his mum to stay on it as a caretaker. [iStockphoto]

A woman who attempted to disinherit her widowed daughter-in-law out of five acres of land in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County has been ordered to surrender the property.

Ms Mary Moraa Mwasi is accused of secretly registering the land’s title in her name and attempting to disinherit Ms Eunice Nasipondi and chase her away from her matrimonial home.

“In life, some situations and behaviours of some people are abhorrent and extremely painful like in this case of a mother of a deceased son against her daughter-in-law over a matrimonial property. How this court wishes the mother came to her senses and did the right thing,” said Justice Fred Nyagaka.

According to the judge, it was painful that the mother lost her son but more painful that she was taking away his property from the widow and in the process punishing her grandchildren.

Ms Nasipondi had sued Ms Mwasi for secretly registering the land in her name and using the title to take a loan from Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) before demanding that she vacates the land.

Ms Nasipondi told the court that she was married to Ms Mwasi’s son Paul Mong’are who was a member of the disciplined forces and they had three children. Mong’are died in August 2019.

She said her husband bought the property in 1994. Since she was living with her husband at his work station, Ms Nasipondi stated, Mong’are invited his mother to reside in the property as a caretaker in 1995.

In 2005, she said they decided to go build their matrimonial home on the property and the mother had no issue, adding that they stayed on the land from thereon until her husband’s death. Ms Nasipondi said that in June 2019 she went to do a search at the Lands ministry and that's when she discovered what her mother-in-law had done.

She claimed that after her husband’s death in August 2019, Ms Mwasi destroyed a fence and some structures that stood on the property, chased away workers and demanded that Ms Nasipondi leaves the home.

Ms Mwasi however stated that her son gifted her the land when he allowed her to take care of it, adding that she registered it in her name in the belief that she was the rightful owner. But Justice Nyagaka in his decision said Ms Mwasi had obtained the title through fraud, without notifying her son who bought the land, and in the process planned to evict his family who was at risk of losing their inheritance.

“She even denied on oath the obvious, that she destroyed her daughter-in-law’s properties which were reported to the police. She then lied that it was her who permitted the late son to build on the land yet he was the one who had bought the land,” ruled justice Nyagaka.

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