Women in Kenya led by women rights groups have condemned a High Court ruling on the share of marital wealth upon a divorce, saying it’s a raw deal.
On Monday, High Court judge John Mativo ruled that married couples are only entitled to their individual share of contribution to the family wealth in a divorce settlement and not 50/50 as sought.
Justice Mativo ruled that Section 7 of the Matrimonial Property Act is not discriminatory and applies to both men and women in marriage.
“The bigger the contribution by a partner in a relationship, the bigger the entitlement upon divorce,” Justice Mativo said.
The Federation of Women Lawyers’ (Fida) had moved to court seeking to have the Matrimonial Properties Act 2013 declared unconstitutional since it stipulated that wealth be shared according to spouses’ contribution upon a divorce, on grounds that it was discriminatory to women.
Section 6 of the Matrimonial Properties Act states that;
“Where there is no prenuptial agreement, matrimonial property vests in the spouses according to the contribution of either spouse towards its acquisition, and shall be divided (not equally) between the spouses (emphasis supplied)”.
FIDA TO APPEAL
Fida has said it has plans to appeal the ruling.
“Fida Kenya’s legal team is reviewing this judgement with the intention of an appeal. Women’s gains made in the current Constitution must be upheld,” said Fida chairperson Josephine Mong’are in a Press statement.
Men and women took to social media to air their reactions on the ruling on share of matrimonial property with the former rejoicing while majority of the latter protested.
Below are some of the reactions shared on social media;
Nkatha *: I got concerned today after I saw many people especially men share that story and saying it’s the end of the road for gold diggers and referring to women as “pussy-preneurs”. Where was it said that property is brought to the table by men? Are women not capable of it?
My other concern was, property here being quantifiable in monetary terms, how do we quantify or value a stay at home spouse’s contribution to a marriage? Because their contribution to such a marital set up is disregarded here.
David* : We thank God for this ruling….for the first time boy child has been guarded against injustice of 50 /50 sharing of properties and assets upon divorce
Samson *: It should not have been an issue at all. The enlightened woman makes her own wealth and doesn’t need any protection upon divorce. The not enlightened woman in the village almost never gets divorced so she also doesn’t need that protection. The only people who stood to benefit from that 50/50 law are marriage opportunists, both males and females.
Ahmed Mohamed : Some men would want a highly qualified woman sitting in the house raising their kids and divorce them with nothing. Women need protection from airheads like those. That High Court decision might need some revisions.