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By Faith Nyasuguta 

In Kenya, it is now official that secret wives, stepchildren, half brothers,half sisters and even distant dependants will no longer have a right to inheritance in the event of a benefactor’s death.

On Wednesday, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the Law of Succession (Amendment) Bill, sponsored by Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma, that aims at streamlining succession matters over concerns that long lists of dependants sow confusion.

The fresh law limits the dependants entitled to inherit property to only the spouse and children of the deceased—whether or not they were maintained by the deceased before their death.

The law will also bring to an end secret partners who have a penchant for popping up when a person dies to demand recognition and a fraction of the departed person’s property.

Uhuru Kenyatta signs law barring secret wives from inheritance /PSCU/

It is common for secret wives to show up immediately a man dies in Kenya, particularly a wealthy or influential person.

In a discourse on the Bill in the National Assembly, MPs argued that immediately a person dies, their families should never be compelled to continue giving a hand to those whom the deceased was helping or sharing their wealth with.

Legislator Rahim Dawood said supporting somebody out of goodwill does not mean the person automatically becomes part of one’s relatives, and that entrenching the habit is likely to be abused by the intended beneficiaries.


In previous times, the law included the deceased’s parents, grandparents, grandchildren, stepchildren, children whom the deceased had taken into his family as his own, brothers and sisters as well as half-brothers being maintained by the deceased prior to death, as beneficiaries.

The law, however, gives room for the nonconventional dependants, including secret lovers, to fight for their rights if they feel aggrieved by the decision to lock them out of the deceased’s wealth.

“A person not named in this section shall not be a dependant for the purposes of this Act unless the person proves [he or she was] maintained by the deceased for a period of two years prior to the deceased’s death.”

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Faith Nyasuguta

1 Comment

    This is quite interesting. However, I think the government should stop worrying about such boiler plate issues when we are so close to the electioneering period and still have a country that is almost completely polarised especially among the youth population.

    Great story Faith!

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