Millie Odhiambo: Girlfriends & Concubines Must Keep Off Men’s Property

A photo of Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo speaking during a function on February 20, 2020.
  • Suba North legislator Millie Odhiambo argued that the Marriage Act recognizes cohabiting as a legal marriage but warned that concubines and girlfriends should not have a say in a man’s property.

    She expressed her disappointment in an amendment to the Succession Law proposed by Homa Bay Town Member of Parliament Peter Kaluma.

    The Mbita MP was making her contribution during the Second Reading of the Bill. She noted that the proposal does not cover people who are not married religiously, the AGs office, or under customary law.

    Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo speaking during a function on February 20, 2020.

    Odhiambo opined that the law should recognize people who are cohabiting as legally married partners. 

    “In law, we have protected cohabitation and not girlfriends, slay queens or people who emerge at funerals claiming they are wives,” she explained.

    “We need to agree on the timelines because the Marriage Act did not capture that bit,” the MP added.

    The lawmakers supported the Law of Succession (Amendment) Bill 2020, which will limit inheritance to only men and women who are legally married, their children, and recognised kin. 

    “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,” Homa Bay Town MP, Peter Kaluma, stated. 

    MPs are rallying each other to pass the bill which stipulates that a wife is a woman who has separated from her husband, a spouse or a widow, and vice versa for men. 

    MPs sought to change the definition of a dependent to clarify that it will only be a spouse and the children of the late. 

    Kaluma, an ODM MP, added that any other spouses (in polyandry and polygamous family setups) qualify for inheritance if they have been officially introduced to the family, married under traditional customs or the first wife knows their whereabouts. 

    Several MPs who supported the bill added that families were being broken and left to wallow in poverty due to the escalating trend.

    Nyando MP, Jared Okelo stated that some women and men emerge only to frustrate families, and paternity tests later exonerate the dead as attention seekers are glorified.

    An ongoing session in parliament
    An ongoing session in parliament