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Rita Field-Marsham: The Daughter Of Nicholas Biwott Who Declined Inheritance From Her Father

The late Nicholas Biwott was a powerful Cabinet Minister during President Daniel Arap Moi’s reign. The ‘Total Man’, as he came to be popularly known, accumulated vast wealth amounting to billions of shillings from different sectors such as real estate, insurance, hospitality, banking and agribusiness among others.

After his death on 11th July 2017, the billionaire left behind a will stating that his estate should be equally distributed amongst his seven children. 

However, what shocked many is that one of his daughters declined to be part of the inheritance. Here is the story of the daughter – Ms Rita Field-Marsham as told by WoK.

Who is Ms. Rita Field-Marsham?

Ms. Rita Field-Marsham was born to the late Nicholas Biwott and his Dutch wife named Johanna. They got married in 1965 and the two bore two daughters – Rita and her sister Rhoda Jakobsoon. The couple met at Melbourne University in Australia while pursuing their tertiary education.

After graduating, they came to Kenya with Biwott taking a job as District Officer (DO) in Meru while Johanna taught French and History at Embu Girls and later Nkubu Boys High School. Their daughter-Rita-attended McGill University in Montreal, Canada for her undergraduate studies where she met her husband Charles Field-Marsham.

They later got married and relocated to Kenya where they run their businesses. However after the regime of President Moi (a close friend to Biwott) came to an end in 2002, Rita and Charles relocated to Toronto, Canada.

Rita’s Career and Businesses

Ms. Rita is a humanitarian lawyer who has previously worked as a prosecuting counsel at the Attorney General’s Offices in Kenya. She is the founder of Field-Marsham Co. Advocates, was a member of the Commercial Law Committee of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), a member of the pro bono panel of the Women Lawyers in Kenya and a member of the pro bono panel of the High Court of Kenya and the Court of Appeal.

Apart from her legal career, Rita is a Philanthropist who acts as the Founder and CEO of two charitable organizations. The two include; Knowledge Empowering Youth (KEY) and Charles Field-Marsham Foundation. The foundations deal with projects that advance education and nurture healthy, inclusive communities.

She’s also the director and co-sponsor of the Kenya Scholar Athlete Program (KenSPA) – the program has airlifted over 130 disadvantaged Kenyans to prestigious Universities in the United States and Canada.

The universities include Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Stanford, McGill and the University of Toronto. Ms. Rita and her husband co-own Kestrel Capital – a stock brokerage company based in Kenya with clients from the United States of America (USA), Europe, South America, Asia, Middle East, Southern Africa, East Africa and West Africa. The company was awarded by Euromoney Magazine as the ‘Best Stockbroker in Kenya.’

Declining his Father’s inheritance

According to the late Nicholas Biwott’s will that he wrote on January 19th 2017, just six months before he died, his vast estate was to be distributed amongst his seven daughters- each receiving a fourteenth of the wealth.

The children included Johanna’s daughters – Rita and Rhoda, Ms. Esther Koimett who is the daughter of Elizabeth Kattar, children of Callista Mathews – Klara, Gloria and Emmanuel.

Another beneficiary was Maria –daughter from his relationship with the current Uasin Gishu county senator Prof Margaret Kamar. Biwott also wrote that assets he co-owned with any person should be transferred to the co-owner and his debts, trustees and professionals who would handle his estate to be paid from the properties left behind.

Lawyer Hamish Keith, businesswoman Elizabeth Klem and advocate Desterio Oyatsi who were the executors of the will.

However, to the shock of many Ms. Rita Field-Marsham declined the inheritance. She did not give any reasons for her turning down the offer in her statement that she filed on December 18th 2017.

She however gave a condition that the executors of the will should handle her forfeited wealth as if it was part of her father’s wealth. Her share should be equally distributed amongst the rest of the siblings.

“I am named as a beneficiary of a share of the deceased estate. I wish to disclaim all my right, title and interest to the share in the deceased estate,” read part of her statement.