The outcome of their inheritance case did not attract much attention locally with less than 15 people in court to listen to the ruling
The landmark victory of women sho successfully fought to inherit their parents property last Friday however caught the international media attention with BBC running the story with a headline ‘Botswana women allowed to inherit’.
Four little known ordinary sisters, Bakhane Moima, Edith Mmusi, Jane Lekoko and Mercy Ntshekisang all aged over 65 had taken their nephew, Molefi Ramantele, 63 to court contesting the ruling that had been made by the Ngwaketse Customary Court which prevented them from inheriting their family home on the grounds that they were women.
The four sisters argued that the judgement by the customary court violated their rights under the constitution.
And their resilience and determination to get back what once belonged to their parents paid off as High Court Judge, Justice Key Dingake ruled in their favour declaring that discriminating against women is fundamentally unjust.
“It seems to me that the time has now risen for the justices of this court to assume the role of the judicial midwives and assist in the birth of a new world struggling to be born. A world of equality between men and women as envisaged by the framers of the constitution,’’ he said in his ruling.
Tshiamo Rantao of Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys who was representing the four sisters upheld the ruling saying: “This is a landmark ruling, a great day for Batswana women, I have never been this happy in a long time.’’
One of the sisters, Edith Mmusi, 79 could also not hide her joy as she spoke of how they refused to give up on the matter as they knew that they had a right to their parent’s property.
“We are so happy about the judgment and I am glad that we did not give up the fight,’’ she said.
The loser in the case, Ramantele expressed disappointed over the judgement.
“How can the courts undermine our culture in this manner? These women are family and I love them but they no longer have the right to any Ramantele property as they now have different surnames due to their marriage. I am so disappointed and still confused by the ruling,” he said outside court.
Sep 10, 2014
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