European Journal of Law Reform

Article

Extra-Marital Children and Their Right to Inherit from Their Fathers in Botswana

A Critical Appraisal

Keywords extra-marital children, inheritance, fathers, Botswana, human rights
Authors Obonye Jonas
Author's information

Obonye Jonas
LL.B (UB), LL.M (Pretoria), Senior Lecturer, Law Department, University of Botswana & Practising Attorney with Jonas Attorneys. E-mail: jonas15098@yahoo.co.uk or obonye.jonas@mopipi.ub.bw.
  • Abstract

      Despite the fact that in recent years a number of states have extended to non-marital children many of the legal rights previously exclusively granted to legitimate children, Botswana still denies non-marital children a wide constellation of their basic rights. One such area where the rights of non-marital children are violated in Botswana is inheritance. In terms of the law of succession of Botswana, extra-marital children have no real legal rights to inherit from and through their father, both at customary law and Common Law. This article discusses and analyses the rule that excludes non-marital children from inheriting from and through their fathers under the two systems of laws. Its central claim is that this rule is antithetical to extra-marital children’s rights to equality, non-discrimination, and dignity. The article argues that the rule is devoid of social currency, has no place in a democratic society, and must be abolished.

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