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Six Kericho sisters allowed to inherit land get title deeds

Saturday April 13 2019

Kericho land dispute

Five of the six sisters display land title deeds in Cheborgei village, Kericho County on April 12, 2019. PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

VITALIS KIMUTAI
By VITALIS KIMUTAI
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Six sisters who were given part of their father’s estate by the High Court after a long standing legal tussle have finally received their title deeds.

The women, Rachel Korir, Esther Korir, Alice Korir, Jane Ruto, Elizabeth Sang and Sarah Rotich,  were handed land title deeds by the Deputy Chief Lands Registrar Ms Pauline Muriithi at Cheborgei in Bureti on Saturday.

Each of the beneficiaries got a five acre piece of land out of the family's 42 acres in what marks an historic moment in the Kipsigis community where married women are usually excluded in the sharing of their parents’ estate in succession matters.

Justice Mumbi Ngugi sitting in Kericho granted the six sisters right to inherit family property in a ruling delivered on July 2014. The estate belonged to Josel Cheruiyot Korir, who died in 2012, four years after his wife Ann passed on.

Cabinet Secretary for Lands Farida Karoney, in a speech read on her behalf by Ms Muriithi, said the ministry was committed to the application of the law on land ownership and inheritance to enhance the plight of women across the country.

Ms Karoney said will partner with various stakeholders on training of land officials in order to ensure that women land rights are entrenched while discharging service to the public.

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 “The women not only took a bold step but also dared to stand and make history. We need more of such women to ensure that the women’s agenda is included in all spheres of our economy,”

“We are alive to the impending review of the National Land Policy and the need to enrich the process through provision of data and other information likely to build on gains made and where necessary  to form part of the review process,” stated Ms Karoney.

The right by women to access, use and own land as a resource is a constitutional right which should not be taken away under whatever circumstances.

“It is important that as a country we to apply the affirmative approaches to enhance inclusivity of women in all levels of our economy,” said Ms Karoney.

Dr Odenda Lumumba the Chief Executive Officer Kenya Land Alliance said there was need for further civic education to be conducted in rural areas to ensure women understood their  rights in regards to issues relating to land ownership and inheritance.

“Despite the law having been in existence for several years, cultural issues continue to inhibit women from inheriting their parents’ estate on the basis that they have been married off,” said Dr Lumumba.

Ms Betty Nyabuto, the Commission Secretary at the National Gender and Equality Commission, and Fida National chairperson Josephine Mongare said women had for ages suffered under archaic cultural practices and beliefs.

“All family members irrespective of their gender should get a share of the family property in a succession matter. Sadly, women have over the years been sidelined in such serious and emotive issues,” said Ms Nyabuto.

Kipsigis Council of elders chairman Bishop (retired) Paul Leleito said there was need to involve elders in succession matters as the community’s tradition and culture did not discriminate against women.