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New law in Kenya locks secret wives out of inheritance – The East African

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A couple exchanging wedding rings. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY
It is now official: secret wives, stepchildren, half brothers and sisters as well as distant dependants will no longer have a right to inheritance in the event of a benefactor’s death.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday assented to the Law of Succession (Amendment) Bill, sponsored by Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma, that seeks to streamline succession matters after concerns were raised that long lists of dependants sow confusion.
The new law limits the dependants entitled to inherit property to only the spouse and children of the deceased—whether or not maintained by the deceased prior to death.
The law further slams the brakes on secret partners who have a penchant for popping up when a person dies to demand recognition and a share of the departed person’s property.
During the debate on the Bill in the National Assembly, MPs argued that once a person dies, their families should not be compelled to continue helping those whom the deceased was helping or sharing their wealth with.
North Imenti MP 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.
Previously, 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 President also signed into law the Refugees Bill and the Foreign Service Act.
The new Refugee law consolidates the provisions of several international legal instruments.
The Foreign Service Act establishes the Foreign Service Academy, among other key provisions aimed at enhancing Kenya’s foreign relations.
Another 21 people were arrested as part of an investigation into the Kampala twin suicide bombings.
Telecom operators were authorised to turn on limited services to the relief of residents who have not accessed internet since October 25.

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