Lerionka Ole Ntutu was survived by multiple wives, sons, and daughters. After his sons filed an application asking the High Court to issue to them the letters of administration to administer their father’s estate, their sisters and stepsisters filed an objection and claimed their inheritance. The sons contested the objection, arguing that the distribution of their father’s estate was governed by Masai customary law, which did not recognize the right of daughters to claim an inheritance from their father’s estate. The judge in the first instance found that, because Ntutu was Masai and lived in an area excluded from the Succession Act, his estate should be divided accorded to Masai custom. The judge thus held that none of the daughters could inherit from their father’s estate. In ruling on the daughters’ appeal, the Court of Appeal invoked international treaties and covenants, including CEDAW, in finding that the daughters of the deceased person in that case were entitled to a share of his estate. On appeal before the High Court, the definitive question before Lady Justice K. Rawal was whether the Court should apply the Law of Succession Act or the customary law of the Masai community. The High Court was satisfied that, even if the Law of Succession Act allowed Ole Ntutu’s community to apply customary law in the distribution of his estate, any tenet of such customary law that would abrogate the right of daughters to inherit the estate of a father would be repugnant to justice and morality and could not be applied. The High Court thus ruled that Ole Ntutu’s daughters were entitled to inherit their father’s land.
Estate of Lerionka Ole Ntutu