Secret lovers, popularly known in Kenya asMpango wa Kandos, have been dealt a huge blow by President Uhuru Kenyatta after he signed the Law of Succession (Amendment) Bill into law.
In the Bill assented to on Wednesday, November 17, the secret lovers were barred from laying claim to property of their spouses after they were termed illegitimate.
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma introduced the Amendment Bill in November 2019 seeking to lock out the secret lovers as part of the spouse’s dependents.
The amendment, however, acknowledged children sired by the deceased spouse as legitimate and could stake a claim in the deceased’s property.
With the the new law, the list of dependents has been reduced to include the deceased’s parents, step-parents, grandparents, grandchildren and step-children.
Others are brothers, sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters and children he took under his own wings.
The law further made it clear that for certain groups of dependants, like half-sisters and half-brothers, the deceased should have maintained them within the last two years before his death.
“A person not named in this section shall not be a dependants for the purposes of this Act unless the person proves [he or she was] maintained by the deceased for a period of two years prior to the deceased’s death,” reads a section of the amended bill.
In March 2021, Kaluma had argued that he introduced the bill to prevent anguish caused by the secret lovers on widows.
He termed them as attention seekers and opportunists who sprout from the shadows to enjoy the property.
“These strangers cause untold anguish to widows, widowers and children. We want to do away with these attention seekers and opportunists who pop out of nowhere and want a share of what they never worked for.
“They then end up locking out those who rightfully own the inheritance. This bill will protect the true heirs in succession affairs, not the common friends we see surfacing,” stated at the time.
Several MPs who supported the bill at the time added that families were being broken and left to wallow in poverty due to the worrying trend where secret lovers takeover. Nyando MP
Jared Okelo noted that some women and men emerge only to frustrate families, and paternity tests later exonerate the dead as attention seekers are glorified.
“They should enjoy the power and high life they were attracted to but should not think we shall let them dip their hands in the wealth,” Okelo stated.
Separately, Uhuru signed two other bills, Foreign Service Act and the Refugees Bill, into law.
The new Refugees Act, which had earlier been referred back to Parliament for reconsideration by the President, strengthens the management of refugees by consolidating provisions of several international legal instruments.
On the other hand, the new Foreign Service Act establishes the Foreign Service Academy among other key provisions aimed at enhancing Kenya’s foreign relations.