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SUCCESSION

Lobby wants a kitty, better laws to protect widows

Says some have been subjected to psychological torture by their in-laws.

In Summary

• The organisation has also called for the establishment of a kitty to empower widows economically and rescue thousands of them from the jaws of poverty.

• CTWOO chairperson Diana Kamande said that some widows have been kicked out of their matrimonial homes while other disinherited of properties.

Kiambu Deputy Governor Joyce Ngugi with Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization chairperson Diana Kamande in Ruiru on Tuesday.
Kiambu Deputy Governor Joyce Ngugi with Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization chairperson Diana Kamande in Ruiru on Tuesday.
Image: JOHN KAMAU
Some widows attend the World Widows Day celebrations in Ruiru on Tuesday.
Some widows attend the World Widows Day celebrations in Ruiru on Tuesday.
Image: JOHN KAMAU
Kiambu Deputy Governor Joyce Ngugi with widows in Ruiru on Tuesday.
Kiambu Deputy Governor Joyce Ngugi with widows in Ruiru on Tuesday.
Image: JOHN KAMAU

The national and county assemblies should make succession laws that protect the interest of widows, a lobby group has said. 

Come Together Widows and Orphans Organisation (CTWOO) said the legislation will protect women who lose their husbands from harassment and exploitation by family and the community.  

The organisation has also called for the establishment of a kitty to empower widows economically and rescue thousands of them from the jaws of poverty.

CTWOO chairperson Diana Kamande said some widows have been kicked out of their matrimonial homes, while others disinherited of properties. These widows suffer silently, she said.

Kamande said some widows have been subjected to psychological torture by their husbands’  kin and the community and accused of causing the deaths. 

The chairperson spoke in Ruiru town on Tuesday when the group received food rations from Kiambu Deputy Governor Joyce Ngugi, the widow of former Gatundu South MP Joseph Ngugi, as they marked the World Widows Day.

Kamande noted that there were four million registered widows in the country in 2016 and that the number has since increased. Kiambu county has 8,000 registered widows, she said.

She said that during last year’s census, the group petitioned the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to tally the number of widows in the country. “We are still waiting for the results,” she said.

Kamande said the group also wants the government to speed up the succession process because most widows have lost properties because of costly and tedious legal procedures.

“Most widows give up half-way because the process drains their resources and makes it hard for them to hire good lawyers. They end up losing properties that’s legitimately theirs. We plead with the government to address this,” she said.

Kamande called on the National Assembly to rectify the Protection against Domestic Violence Act that outlaws "wife inheritance" to read as "widow inheritance".

“I think no man in his right mind can let his wife be inherited. It should read widow inheritance,” she said.

Kamande said that should both the national and county governments create a fund for widows in the country, it would boost most of them who are still languishing in poverty. 

Ngugi said that she will lobby the MCAs to have a bill tabled at the county assembly for the sake of widows.

“I’m one of them (widows) and I know what most of them experience. I will passionately push for the bill to be tabled and passed at the Kiambu County Assembly so that we can protect them and empower them economically to enable them to sustain their lives and that of their children,” Ngugi said.

Esther Wangui, who was widowed 30 years ago said the move will protect the interests and rights of many who cannot raise a voice in the society.

(edited by o. owino)