“To his credit, Daddy allocated each of his three marital homes to the respective wife and children living there. Polygamous men should be wealthy enough to bequeth each wife an independent home. I was prepared to fight to the death if any outsider had been given my mother’s residential home. Phew!!”Dr. Stella Nyanzi, 2014, on Facebook
My papa did similar too. He had multiple independent homes where each of the mothers of his children and their respective children – biological and otherwise resided; homes that were designated as their homes. This is consistent with Iteso culture. You can imagine my shock after papa’s death when itunga ngun are insisting that the homes that were originally the residential homes of my mother’s children are somehow supposed to be free for all, except for my mother’s children???
Yes, that Mulengera story, “75-year old city lawyer vows to make RadioI & NGO leader Norah Owaraga homeless,” holds some home truths (pun intended). Moreover, Iteso culture dictates that a male child who comes of age and is allocated land to construct their own home, automatically ceases to claim the home of his father as his, even if he were named heir.
Papa allocated all his sons land and in some cases with buildings on the land, in order to establish their homes – both in an urban setting and in a rural setting. Some of them have since mismanaged their allocations and or have sold it. Now, they are terrorizing me, papa’s child who was resident in papa’s residences at the time of his death.
Papa made provisions for his unmarried daughters to peacefully live in his residences. Those daughters married and whose marriage fails are also free to return home; but in an orderly manner that doesn’t disturb the peace of those already living in respective residence. The majority of papa’s daughters got married and were already living in their marital homes at the time of papa’s death.
The shocker though, is that my older married sisters are asserting claim to the residences of my mother’s children. They want me evicted from papa’s residences in which I was resident at the time of papa’s death. Residences in which I grew up and in which I have independent houses within. Residences to which I have significant emotional attachment. And so, I am fighting back with everything that I have got.
My house within the residence of papa at Kadoki Village in Pallisa. It was my paternal grandma’s house, which papa built for her and at the time of her death papa gave it to me. I have since modified it significantly.
The Succession Act, as I heard it discussed on Spectrum Radio One FM90, fits well with Dr. Nyanzi’s logic; and as well as the central logic of Iteso. when it provides:
“The residential property of an intestate, as long as the living spouse or child of an intestate is in occupancy, will not affect the percentage of their share on the property of the intestate.”
This means that a child in residence is provided continuation of residence; as well as benefit from the other property not prior allocated at the time the deceased died. I pray that I am a beneficiary of the Succession Act soon. All I want is to keep my promise to papa that his residences in which I resided with him will be here for posterity and that they will not be sold, while I am still alive.