Is Land succession a curse in Gusii

Since time immemorial, land has been an emotive issue in the region with polygamous families embroiled in legal battles.

Land is a resourceful development element majorly in agriculture. Gusii that’s Kisii and Nyamira counties have their backbone economic muscle on agriculture, for the existence of cash crops like coffee,tea,sugarcane,bananas and others like Maize, Beans, Sorghum and livestock rearing.

Land in the region has turned out to be a center of dispute all over two counties,in Borabu for instance the issue of parents not subdividing their pieces of land has for the past years thwarted security operations on cattle rustling.

The parent’s adamant to subdivide land to young people who have gone to school and have not been employed has in the past led to them organizing with cattle rustlers to enhance cattle rustling leading to border disputes over  boarder communities on suspicion.

Land succession and court battles

Succession and adamant parents to the heirs and sibling rivalry has been a major challenge within the region.

Hence everybody within the region agreed that when the owner of the land has passed on,his or her siblings should inherit land successfully.

There evolves other complications of who should get which share, where the property invested ,in-case where the father has passed on and leaves a widow most differences occur between siblings dividing available resources moreover where a will doesn’t exist.

There are an easy found solutions to this for there comes village elders who come in handy to solve the situation to safeguard the respect to the dead and share on the way forward solving the issue completely as compared to polygamous families.

In a polygamous family its totally different and more worse for there will be a big gap between the first family and the second or third or others.

In Gusii the first family inherits larger portions from the father majorly when he is young and can search for resources and thus becoming successful in life than other families.

Because the second family comes as an afterthought,frustration,unfaithfulness and neglect from the first family they come in handy to console to console thus no energized efforts are made to bring it up.

Kisii High Court Deputy Registrar Virginia Karanja says that some of the succession cases end up as criminal matters as 90 per cent of title deeds and successions certificates are forgeries.
“We are handling succession cases that should have been resolved more than 40 years ago,” she says, and regrets that most litigants in the cases end up being murdered by their kin.
“This could be the reason why we receive more than 1,000 new land cases every year. The community should be sensitized on conflict resolution mechanisms to avoid a number of these ligation and possible killings,” she says.

In a case where the father of the home dies and leaves the family fighting over his properties land and other investments there exist rivalry  between the extended families,counter accusation arise as to legally is the inheritor of the said properties as the first family consider others invaders.

The court now is sought as the convener to help solve the situation from either families having court orders either to or stop the burial or taking the body from a mortuary.Bodies that have been lying in morgues for long has said to have court orders and cases that have not been solved.

There created a hatred between families that they cant see each other eye to eye,after the case tussle and at the burial there evolves to rivalries and even after the case that was at the bone of contention continues now as a succession case.

According to lawyer Edward begi the fight over land majorly in gusii doesn’t entail burial programme disagreements and conflicts but simply about property and land succession issues and therefore many think that by allowing the body to be buried could ease the legal and procedural manner to solve the conflict.

“Its normally land succession issues that you see surround the burial cases not necessarily burial cases and not that families involved  cant sit down and agree”,said Begi adding that wills from parents as essential when legally ascertained and kept in a secure place to avoid alteration.

At kiamwasi village, Kitutu chache central ward, Kitutu chache south constituency  young men tend to force their parents to subdivide land with the peer pressure of acquiring a motor cycle[Bodaboda] and their cherish for quick business profit hits a snag when they realize that they are in a business they can’t manage.

“I asked my parents to give me my portion of land and I was indeed given but thinking that Bodaboda was a fast profit making business I was duped to think so I really felt wasted and indeed for my parents”, said a villager who witnesses the buyer invest on his land while he is languishing in poverty and now making kokotos at kiamwasi.

Professional business enterprise

There before if you would walk to Kisii county registry offices you were to be shocked to see many land blockers than workers turning the a professional job into a business enterprise.

They are no longer there thanks to new lands registrar Steve Mokaya who flushed them out but they haven’t bowed out though for they operate nowadays from outside soda selling kiosks making sure that they remain relevant.

According to the professional land valuer and former lands officer RaelOtundo  these land brokers are in existence and other have made it a profession that they can’t do without.

“Brokers are all over,they operate on different fields ranging from insurance,car,properties and majorly land”,said Otundo adding that there exists genuine brokers and as it is in Kenya there also exists con men in the name of land sellers.