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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

At last, the boys secured their inheritance rights

Perepetua Buzima (left) discussing (about boundaries of the plot) with a woman who bought a house which was at the centre of inheritance conflict which involved two boys and their step-father. Finally, the case was peacefully resolved by Mbogwe district paralegals and all interesting parties got their rights.  
For years, thousands of female-children and widows denied their inheritance rights after the death of a father in many families across Tanzania. Although many cases go unreported, there are countless incidents of widows and girls being pushed out of family houses and denied their rights in the course of the distribution of inheritance wealth left by a deceased father.
However, over time, the trend is changing as male-children are also subjected to problems and denied their inheritance rights after the death of their parents in a family.
Young boys—Samson Kuhali (20) and MashakaKuhali (17) —residents of Masumbwe, Mbogwe district (Geita)—stands out as real examples of male-children who experienced untold harassment and chased out of their matrimonial house after the death of their mother.
Before the death, the boys were living peacefully with their mother and step-father in the same house (jointly built by the couple) located at Masumbwe village, Mbogwe district. The family lived in harmony and unity.
But the situation changed drastically after the death of their mother. Step-father began mistreating the boys by denying them basic rights including meeting their daily needs. He later chased the two boys out of the house on the grounds that they had no right to inherit the property.
Led by Ms. Perepetua Ruben Buzima a sister to the deceased, the relatives fought hard to claim back the house and ensure the boys’ access to their inheritance right. They  use quick a lot of financial resources and time to follow up on the case in various channels, their struggle ended in vain, as step-father refused to give the boys their rights
Relatives of the deceased went to Mbogwe District Social Welfare Office, where they were advised to lodge a case with Masumbwe primary court. Step-father was summoned but rejected to appear before the court. Deceased relatives were allowed by the court to select a person who would oversee distribution of the disputed inheritance house. Family members convened a meeting and appointed Raphael Ruben (50) overseer of the distribution process. However, step-father refused to cooperate. He took the matter back to primary court magistrate who failed to resolve the conflict. The deceased family consulted a lawyer who agreed to assist at a higher cost which they could not afford.
Some villagers advised the family to seek paralegals assistance. They met Mbogwe district paralegal, who assisted them—re-organizing necessary documents and filed an appeal at Mbogwe District Land and Housing Tribunal. The court summoned the step-father, heard arguments of both sides and ordered the house to be sold at a market price and proceeds divided equally to both conflicting parties (the two boys and their step-father).
The house was finally sold out at Shs 2.5 million and proceeds divided as per court order. The boys have since relocated to another village where they are now doing small businesses to support their families.
“Before paralegals’ intervention, we (family) spent a lot of money, energy and time in this case--preparing court documents and related costs, it became easier after paralegal step in to assist…within no time, the case has been concluded, and the boys secured their rights,” says Perepetua Buzima, deceased’s young sister.
“We are grateful that justice prevailed. The boys got their shares and invested in small businesses, I now understand the importance of preparing a will to protect our families, particularly wife and children from inheritance problems,” says Julie Mozao, a family friend.
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