The Eldoret High court has declined to recognize a dowry negotiation agreement document presented in court by a woman who is seeking to be recognized as the second wife of a deceased man.
The woman claims to have given birth to a baby girl with the deceased who is of Asian origin.
Justice Reuben Nyakundi rejected the document after defense lawyer Elijah Momanyi raised concerns over its legality as it did not have the signatures of the parties involved.
“This document is fake, there are no signatures of people who are alleged to have participated in the unproven dowry negotiations. On behalf of my client, I discard the document. My client will not accept this document,” Mr Momanyi told the court.
Incidentally, the said author of the document is deceased hence his brother defended the document on his behalf.
While rejecting the document Justice Nyakundi wondered why the parties involved in the document did not sign it as required by the law.
“The objector has not told the court why the parties involved did not sign the document. None of the people who participated in the said dowry negotiations have signed the document. This court cannot admit such a document,” ruled Justice Momanyi.
The court was told the deceased had accepted to pay the parents of the applicant 120 goats as dowry fee.
The court further heard that the deceased had paid Sh20,000 as the cleansing fee for giving birth with the said woman before paying dowry according to Kikuyu customary law.
In the case the complaint identified as M.N has asked the High Court to compel the man’s family to consider her as his second wife and support her daughter financially.
M.N., an interior designer, told Eldoret High Court Judge Reuben Nyakundi that she and Lakhman Ravji Naran started courting in 2003 and were blessed with a baby girl, who is now 19 years old.
M.N claimed that Mr Naran had already married her under Kikuyu customary law after visiting her family in Murang’a in 2003.
She said he attended marriage negotiations in her village before she conceived and so she is qualified to inherit part of his vast estate.
After she conceived, she claimed, dowry negotiations were no longer a priority. Her lover shelved the marriage plan to allow her to focus on her pregnancy, she said.
“I was married to Mr Naran between 2003/2004 and during our courtship I became pregnant before giving birth to our daughter, who is now 19 years old and a university student,” she told the court.
In their response the family of the deceased Asian man told the court the woman and her daughter were strangers to them and they did not recognise the alleged marriage.
The family said their Hindu religion does not recognise polygamous marriages, though M.N. produced copies of the marriage negotiations ceremony and other documents in court.
M.N. presented in court a birth certificate bearing the name of the deceased as the biological father of her daughter.
She also presented in court photographs showing the deceased with the daughter on various occasions including parents meeting in an Asian school where the girl was schooling before joining a private university.
Hearing of the case will continue on January 20, 2023.
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