By Goodluck Musinguzi
Properties worth billions of shillings that were given to the late Nanyonga Ziba Charm by her husband, Ugandan businessman Karim Hirji are at the center of an inheritance battle between her daughters.
Three of the four daughters have distanced themselves from a press release that claimed to be against their father and family friends.
Prior to her marriage to Karim Hirji, Nanyonga had three children with her former husband, Robert Birungi.
Linda Birungi (now married to Godwin Murungi, the Romanian Honorary Consul to Uganda) is the eldest of the three children from that union.
Karim Hirji took on the children of Nanyonga. Linda was seven years old at the time of her mother’s wedding to Hirji and was adopted alongside her siblings by the businessman.
She was educated in Uganda and the United Kingdom and was 33 years old and married at the time of Nanyonga Ziba’s death on 8th February 2004.
The Will of the late Nanyonga is at the center of this conflict that is threatening to tear a family that has lived in peace for so many years without any problems.
It started as a normal, procedural inheritance case where Linda Birungi wanted to be part of the Will on properties given to her mother by the second husband.
In her Will, late Nanyonga stated that she left her Estate to Karim Hirji if she survived him for a stipulated period and if he did not then the Estate should go to the three daughters, the children of her union with Karim Hirji.
They are Anisha Hirji, Karima Hirji and Nabila Hirji. Karim Hirji did survive his late wife for the stipulated period but nonetheless passed on his late wife’s estate to their three daughters.
Linda has continually sought to contest her late mother’s Will having not been one of the beneficiaries.
Initially she used lawyers, Bitangaro & Company Advocates, on the basis that she was a dependent relative for whom no maintenance had been provided but when it was pointed out that as a 33 year old married lady at the time of her mother’s death she was not a dependent in law or fact.
She then took to claiming that either the Will was forged or her having been excluded was proof that the late Nanyonga was not of sound mind when she made the Will.
Uganda Attorney General Hon. William Byaruhanga and Businessman Patrick Bitature are listed as witnesses in the defense case filed by the Hirji children to confirm her mental state.
In a written and signed statement seen by our reporter, the three Hirji daughters say
“It is clearly for that reason that Linda has chosen to attack them personally claiming that by speaking the truth about our mother’s mental state they are attempting to obtain benefit from our mother’s estate. This is ridiculous and Linda should know better. Each of these gentlemen is successful in their own right” the statement reads.
They disassociate themselves from the attacks being promoted on social media by their half-sister Linda Birungi and in a direct appeal to her, they remind her that it is their mother’s estate and wish they can use the courts or resolve it amongst themselves as siblings.
“It is unfortunate that you are trying to publicize this complaint in a different place whereas you should be pursuing this in a family meeting and if unsatisfied, in a court room. There is no one else who can resolve this matter for us” Anisha Hirji, Karima Hirji and Nabila Hirji said.
Our efforts to reach Attorney General Hon. William Byaruhanga and Patrick Bitature by the time we went to press were unsuccessful.