The Gender Monitoring Office (GMO) presented its report on errors unearthed after assessing the 1999 law about marriage regimes and inheritance of property.
The report comes after a survey conducted in 15 districts of the country to establish the level of implementation of the law and identify faulty articles.
The findings will be used to adjust the law in the future. The survey shows that there has been a positive application of the law in local courts, to solve succession disputes in Rwanda.
Family members, especially females, developed more willingness to safeguard their family property after the introduction of the law, because they were legally assured of a share of family property.
Some shortcomings highlighted during the survey included having little knowledge of the law among the people. They also did not know where to report after being offended.
Also, most couples do not know about the legal right of changing from one matrimonial regime to another.
“People think that they are tied to community ownership of their property when they choose that regime, during matrimony; yet there is a right to modify a regime later, if agreed upon by the couple,” said Oda Gasinzigwa, the head of GMO.
The findings also suggest that the law be used to solve cases which were reported after its establishment, other than applying the principle of retroactivity (article 95).
In an interview, Verena Mukayiranga, a resident of Ngoma District named the diversion of the law from the Rwandan culture, as the source of problem during titse implementation.
“....for example, if a banished child or one who is not known in the family, comes home after the death of the father, he or she is not included in the succession of his parent’s property, which is practically unjust,” she said.
Callixte Shema, from Gatenga, in Kicukiro district, noted that corruption in succession cases is still rampant.
“I know of a story of uncles who use money and status to deprive nephews and nieces of their parents’ property.”
Gasinzigwa asserted that more education on the law be imparted to local and religious leaders, so that they can teach their followers how to put it into proper practice.