Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Grace Lumenyela vs Elizabeth Rutakupa () [1983] TZHC 13 (03 May 1983);

Law report citations
1983 TLR 97 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1983] TZHC 13

Chipeta, J.: The parties to this appeal are daughter and mother, the appellant being the A daughter of the respondent.
The undisputed facts of the case which I find rather amusing, are that when the appellant married her husband, the said husband paid to the mother of the appellant one cow as customary bridewealth. That marriage was blessed with five children. Subsequently, the B marriage broke up. Meanwhile, the cow had reproduced several times.
After the break-up of the marriage, the appellant's husband claimed from the respondent his one cow which he had paid as bridewealth. The respondent duly refunded one cow, but remained with three, the issues of the original cow. C
Meanwhile, the appellant, who had custody of the five children of the marriage, went to live independently. She filed a suit against her mother claiming the three cows on the ground that they were her property as they were as a result of her bridewealth. D
As would be expected, the trial Primary Court dismissed the suit, and her appeal to the District Court was also dismissed. This, then, is her second appeal.
The two courts were unanimously of the view that the appellant had no right over the animals because, by custom, bridewealth is the property of the parents of the daughter. E Without further discussion, I fully agree with that reasoning.
If the appellant wants maintenance for her children, she is advised to sue her erstwhile husband for the same. She has no right to claim the bridewealth as her property. That F remains the property of her parents. They can only part with that property and give it or any part of it to the appellant on the basis of a moral and not legal obligation.
For these reasons, this appeal is dismissed with costs.
G Appeal dismissed.