Wife Inheritance and Ethics Among the Abagusii of Southern Western Region in Kenya

10 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2016

Date Written: November 14, 2016


It was ethical for a young wife to be inherited when the husband has died. There were factors which compelled such circumstances, including young or tender age and had no children, one or two children who were young too. The young brother of the husband was entitled inherit and if was married and willing to inherit the wife and bring the family up his deceased brother. This brought social order in the family because people knew it and it was ethical. Circumstances where the young brother declined to inherit the wife, then the cousin age mate of late husband was entitled ethically. Inheritance refers to having possession of or receives the right or divine power to own something. In this sense therefore, wife inheritance was a cultural practice among the Abagusii to ensure that the family of deceased person continued the race through the kinship blood. The problem nowadays, there is no social order in wife inheritance and ethical values are disregarded leading to conflicts among brothers and people from outside the family who could have interest. The objective of the study is to investigate the best method or strategy to be used in wife inheritance without creating conflicts in the family and leading to social disorganization in the family of the deceased. The research is survey- analytical method comparing the ancient social order and modern disorder of wife inheritance among the abagusii. The findings are important to embrace ethical values and social order which are eroded through modernization, in the contemporary African families in Africa. It is concluded that because people do not use social order and ethics in wife inheritance, they have inherited diseases like HIV/AIDS and have transmitted to their wives and as a consequence both of them die and leave their children orphans and suffering at young age. It is recommended that people should investigate the cause of the death of the husband of a wife before they rush and compete to inherit the wife! In the ancient or “analogy period” wife inheritance was done publicly by elders, but in modern or “digital period”, because of westernization and globalization, it is done confidentially by interested person and wife leading to devastating effects later.

Keywords: Key words: Inheritance; Ethical; Globalization; Modernization; Social order; Westernization.

Suggested Citation

Okebiro, Gilbert, Wife Inheritance and Ethics Among the Abagusii of Southern Western Region in Kenya (November 14, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2869113 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2869113

Gilbert Okebiro (Contact Author)

Kisii University, Students ( email )


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