African Customary Law: An Introduction

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The author is a Don at the School of Law, University of Nairobi Kenya and a development consultant with various NGOs and other international bodies in Eastern Africa region and Italy. He is a researcher and writer of articles and texts on matters concerning law and culture. Dr. Onyango is an expert in modern legal science with wide knowledge of law ranging from comparative legal system, international public law, ethics, philosophy, theology, sociology, mass media and social realities today. He is currently teaching Social Foundations of Law, Customary Law, International Public Law and International Relations at the University of Nairobi and he is a part-time lecturer at St. Paul�s University. Among his publication are Cultural Gap and Economic Crisis in Africa and, Dholuo Grammar for Beginners.

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Date de parution 29 décembre 2013
Nombre de visites sur la page 1
EAN13 9789966031921
Langue English

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AFRICANCUSTOMARYLAW: ANINTRODUCTION
AFRICANCUSTOMARYLAW: A I N NTRODUCTION
Dr. Peter Onyango (Dip, BA, Lic, PhD)
Published by LawAfrica Publishing (K) Ltd. rd Top Plaza, 3 Floor Kindaruma Road, (Off Ngong Road) P.O. Box 4260-00100 GPO Nairobi, Kenya Wireless: +254 20 249 5067 Cell: +254 708 898 189 Fax: +254 20 249 5067
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© Peter Onyango, 2013; LawAfrica
ISBN: 9966 031 34 1
Copyright subsists in this work. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or means, or stored in a retrieval system of any nature without the prior publisher’s written permission. Any unauthorized reproduction of this work will constitute a copyright infringement and render the doer liable under both criminal and civil law.
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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published in this work is accurate, the author, the editors, publishers and printers take no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of reliance upon the information contained herein.
T C ABLE OF ONTENTS
Acknowledgement.............................................................. Preface ............................................................................... Table of Cases..................................................................... Table of Statutes..................................................................
Introduction........................................................................ The Study of Customary Law Justified .............................. Scope and Aim.................................................................. Methodology and Approach..............................................
Page ix xi xvii xix
1 4 7 8
Chapter 1:The Nature of African Customary Law ...... 13 1.1 Introduction ............................................................. 13 1.2 Definition.................................................................. 13 1.3 Subjectivity and Objectivity of Law ........................... 14 1.4 Definition from other Scholars................................... 15 1.5 Definition of Customary Law .................................... 18 1.6 System ....................................................................... 19 1.7 Legal Ethnographers and Anthropologists ................... 19
Chapter 2: Nature, Characteristics, Limits...................... 29 2.1 Introduction .............................................................. 29 2.2 Customary Rules and Practices .................................. 29 2.3 Characteristics............................................................ 31 2.4 Contextualization and Diversities ............................... 35 2.5 Languages .................................................................. 35 2.6 Scarce Back-up and Low Supportive Political Will...... 38 2.7 Lack of Bargain Power ............................................... 41
vi
African Customary Law: An Introduction
Peter Onyango
2.8 Inconsistency Principle .............................................. 2.9 Repugnancy Principle ............................................... 2.10Reliability.................................................................. 2.11Oral Form in the Judicial Traditions ........................... 2.12Civilisation Challenge ................................................ 2.13Proximity................................................................... 2.14Sources of Law...........................................................
42 43 46 48 48 50 52
Chapter 3:Praxis of Customary Law............................... 55 3.1 Introduction .............................................................. 55 3.2 Kenya ........................................................................ 55 3.3 Ethiopia..................................................................... 58 3.4 Somalia...................................................................... 60 3.5 Nigeria ...................................................................... 61 3.6 Ghana........................................................................ 63 3.7 South Africa............................................................... 64
Chapter 4:The Use of Customary Law in other Systems67.......................................................... 4.1 Introduction .............................................................. 67 4.2 British Experience ..................................................... 67 4.3 Roman Experience.................................................... 68 4.4 Indian Experience...................................................... 72
Chapter 5:Constitutional Analysis of Customary Law........................................................... 73 5.1 Old Constitution ....................................................... 73 5.2 New Constitution...................................................... 74 5.3 Judicature Act of 1967................................................ 75
Peter Onyango
Table of Contents
5.4 The Question of Rank .............................................. 5.5 Applicability of Customary Law.................................
vii
76 76
Chapter 6:Genesis and Upheavals of Customary Law........................................................... 77 6.1 Introduction .............................................................. 77 6.2 British Colonial Rulings (Ordinances) ....................... 77 6.3 Fall and Rise of African Customary Law .................... 78 6.4 Prioritizing African Customary Law........................... 81 6.5 Reviving African Traditional Courts ........................... 82 6.6 Abolishing African Courts.......................................... 85 6.7 Qualifying the Role of the Chief at African Customary Law ............................................ 86
Chapter 7:Quest for Integrated System.......................... 91 7.1 Introduction .............................................................. 91 7.2 Conflict of Laws ........................................................ 91 7.3 Development of Marriage Law .................................. 93 7.4 Divorce and Inheritance Law ..................................... 94 7.5 Law of Succession ...................................................... 95 7.6 Land Law................................................................... 95 7.7 Scholarly Evaluation of the Integrated System ............ 97 7.8 More on Succession ................................................... 100 7.9 Laws of Inheritance in Kenya ..................................... 101 7.10Uniform Customary Law........................................... 104
Chapter 8:Quest For African Jurisprudence................... 109 8.1 Introduction .............................................................. 109 8.2 The Road Map for Africa .......................................... 110 8.3 Ubuntu Concept ....................................................... 113 8.4 Linguistic Challenge .................................................. 117
viii
African Customary Law: An Introduction
Peter Onyango
8.5 Impediments towards the Integrated System ............... 121 8.6 Colonial Legacy......................................................... 121
Chapter 9:Determining the Future................................. 125 9.1 Introduction .............................................................. 125 9.2 Dealing with Authenticity Issue.................................. 127 9.3 The Dilemma ............................................................ 129 9.4 Intriguing Questions.................................................. 131
Chapter 10:Critique................................1..34......................... 10.1Introduction .............................................................. 143 10.2Lack of Confidence in the Court ............................... 143 10.3The Fate of Customary Court ................................... 147 10.4Punishment in Customary Law .................................. 150 10.5The Perspective of International Justice System .......... 153
Chapter 11:Protagonist in the Primitive Law................ 157 11.1Introduction .............................................................. 157 11.2The Dream is on........................................................ 158 11.3T.O Elias et al ............................................................ 159
Summary and Conclusion................................................ 163
Annex:................................................................................ 167
Glossary............................................................................... 169
Selected Bibliography........................................................ 175
A CKNOWLEDGEMENT
I must admit that coming up with this work could not be a one-man job but a collective effort. First and foremost, I owe a lot of gratitude to the Almighty God who has made it possible for me to exist and make this pre-emptive academic contribution. I am indebted to several scholars whose ideas, thoughts and opinions have shaped the final outcome. Discussions with Dr. Oriare Nyarwath of the Department of Philosophy, University of Nairobi, have been very helpful. Criticism has helped me to fine-tune my ideas and avoid unnecessary emotive reactions. I am therefore indebted, first of all, to my former Dean of the School of Law, distinguished Professor J. Otieno Odek, now Judge in the Court of Appeal whose first reactions helped me to be more objective and focused on the subject. I thank advocate Kenyatta Odiwuor, Hezron Kute and Co. Advocates for their practical suggestions, ideas and keen attention on the topic.
The research benefitted a great deal from editors, Mrs Okoth and Mrs Ogweno.Their love for the African ideas and thoughts on the African legal culture became a significant recipe for this noble cause. I appreciate all those who shared invaluable ideas. Associate Prof J. Anselm Odhiambo of the University of Nairobi and a host of other learned friends. I also feel indebted to Ms. Katarina Juma of the LawAfrica Publishing Limited for her inspiration and encouragement. Had it not been her attention on the subject, I would have not achieved this objective.
It is rare that an author appraises his or her students in the academic script such as this one. I cannot fail to mention my eight rd diligent 3 year law students (from diversified backgrounds in customary law) at Kisumu Campus, who followed all the lectures with considerable amount of enthusiasm. Had it not been them, I would have shot down the idea before hatching it. I wish to acknowldge the following law students for their contribution towards this first impression: Aguko Julius, Haggai Kadiri, Okello Godrick, Maker Nyol, Michael Odwuor, Daniel Masinde, Grace Senga and Peter Kiriba. They decided to be on the right side of