The People, Uncategorized

Land inheritance in Meru

Let’s talk about land inheritance in Meru. By talking I mean, I have unanswered questions and opinions and I also need you to give me your opinions and share your experiences.

Let me be a darling and share my experience with you. So last week my brother chopped his paternal uncles hand – well almost chopped it off – but he cut him so bad he’s been in been in hospital since then. And no it’s not a Meru thing, that’s just a stereotype. The reason, you ask? Land,Shamba,Munda,Kithaka or whatever you call it. Before my brothers dad died- no he’s not my father don’t ask too many questions – he cut his land into pieces for his sons, okay I mean divided. Each son had a specific piece to his name. In my part of Meru old men have a sit down during these things and help families divide land peacefully. As fate would have it some eleven years ago before he could give each son a title deed he fell sick and passed on. My brother has two brothers. Since that day,my brother has known no peace.

I’m not going to be objective on this one because he’s my brother and I have seen his struggle so if I sound stupid or emotional forgive me. Just after the death of my brothers father – yeah I know that’s too many words but well, deal- he was taken to court by his uncle who claimed that my brother was picked on the road and brought to his father, that he was not his father’s son.Therefore he had no right to inherit his father’s land. Since then he has spent thousands of shillings in court trying to keep his rightful place in his father’s land.

His uncle’s basis is because he was from a different wife or he was . My brother is his father’s first born, when his wife died (my brothers wife)- God rest her soul in peace she was buried on this piece of land and his uncle didn’t object because my brother’s dad was alive. When my nephew was around 17 years he was arrested for being my brothers son. He was just walking in the shamba and some foolish police men arrested him at the request of his uncle on account that he was trespassing, remember this boy has lived here all his life. For him it was a normal day at home. One time his uncle sent people to uproot all the crops that were planted on my brothers farm, yeah some fools were paid to destroy property and because the authorities were in bed with the evil uncle nothing was ever done. Another time he cut off my brothers water supply because it passed through his land, under his land. Eventually he took the water because it was passing through his land and my brother had no right to it. Remember this was my brother’s piped water. Another time he fenced off my brothers gate you couldn’t drive through so if you visited my brother you’d park at a neighbor’s,my brother parked at his neighbor’s every single day.

There’s a case in court and now my brother will be arrested soon for taking the law in his own hands. I don’t approve of what he did but there was a build up and he was exhausted and acted out of his anger.Ten years of anger I am sorry to say but his uncle kind of deserved it. I said I can’t be objective so don’t even.

My maternal grandfather gave my mother a few acres of land before he died some twelve years ago. My mother spent the last ten years trying to get that land, because the minute my grandfather died his third wife decided my mother wasn’t deserving of her father’s inheritance in her stepmother’s eyes. And he died just as he was about to give her a title deed with her name. I could get into the details but my mother is an angel. I have never met anyone as gracious,no not because she’s my mother but she never raises her voice at anyone. She forgives faster than you can say sorry. Oh, yeah she lost the land even after proving that her father gave it to her. Oh yeah she carries no bitterness even after this. If I were to get into explaining the shitty crap my mother has gone through during those ten years I would sound evil which I’m not, or maybe I am. I can’t tell when it comes to defending my mother. I said I can’t be objective talking about my brother, neither can I when it’s my mother. The justice system failed her. Judges were bribed to pass the ruling in favor of my mother’s evil step mother. I don’t consider her my grandma before you ask, because she took what rightfully belonged to my mother.

Apart from the justice system we need to learn to write wills that are executed by a mandated lawyer at the point of our death. We also need to stop waiting till our dying moments because we will die one day so there is no point living in denial. One more thing we need to agree with each other and accept that even daughters are deserving of their parents land. Unless your sister agrees to relinquish her rights then she has as much right as any son to keep property that her father deemed fit to bequeath her. I am saying this because I have heard of so many daughters being given land by their parents and their brothers decide their sisters are lesser humans and decide to make their lives miserable.

I don’t know about other counties in Kenya and how volatile ancestral land can get, but in Meru it’s a never ending war. It’s like we hate our relatives so much we want to stifle every effort that they could get to improve their lives. When it comes to land cases there’s a stench of bad dreams, hate and death always looming. Someone needs to advise us on where we can go right.

If you have positive stories share with us. If you feel like ranting or telling us of your awful experience the comments section is your oyster, go to town!

There’s no perfect way to end this post so, I’m out or maybe I’ll be back with more!

3 Comments to “Land inheritance in Meru”

  1. Polycarp

    I can mirror a similar case with my mother too, being denied inheritance from his father since there house/nyomba (4th Wife) was purely all girls. Now what i have learnt all along and found from the traditional practices of us Meru (Amuthambi). Ancestral /clan land is never inherited by girls and its ‘curse’ (Mugiro) to do so. For any other land (Plots) acquired by the parent can be passed over to girls. Thanks


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