The High Court in Harare will today have to pass a decision on the burial of socialite and fitness trainer Michelle “Moana” Amuli to settle the dispute between her parents over her burial.
This comes after the deceased’s mother Ms Yolander Kuvaoga, represented by her lawyer Mr Jerome Madondo, made an urgent chamber application at the High Court to nullify the burial order issued on November 18.
The application is meant to prevent her estranged husband Mr Ishmael Amuli from abnegating their prior agreement that Moana be buried at Zororo Cemetery.
She wants the court to grant an interim interdict to stop the burial until the finalisation of the matter.
High Court Judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda last week deferred the matter to today by consent of both parties’ lawyers.
The judge wants to hear the two parties’ oral evidence before making an informed decision on the dispute.
He also wants Mr Amuli’s lawyer Mr Marcus Zvirahwa to file his opposing papers.
“This matter be deferred to Monday 23rd of November 2020 at 3pm which shall be the return date for this matter,” Justice Kwenda said.
“The first respondent(Amuli) shall file his notice of opposition by 9am on Monday 23rd November 2020. The applicant and first respondent shall attend the hearing on Monday 23rd November 2020 to give oral evidence.”
In her founding affidavit, Moana’s mother said she made an agreement with Mr Amuli that their daughter be buried at Zororo Cemetery in the presence of the deceased’s relatives and friends.
She said Mr Amuli later told her that Moana would be buried according to the rights of Islam in her absence, contrary to what they had agreed earlier on.
“I have a reasonable apprehension that I, together with other female sisters, colleagues and relations would be excluded from the funeral rites which would be unconscionable,” Kuvaoga argued.
She said Mr Amuli stated that she would be excluded from the funeral gathering which in her opinion would be unacceptable as she is Moana’s mother.
Ms Kuvaoga told the court that Moana had remote ties to Islam as evidenced by her lifestyle.
“I do not wish or desire that anyone be excluded from the occasion on the basis of gender or creed as this goes against not only my sense of community according to custom but of the general persona of my deceased daughter who embraced everyone. The deceased was a popular personality with a huge following. Apparently, it would be unfair not only to me, but to other people and relations who knew her personality,” she said.
Mr Kuvaoga said Mr Amuli had not seen Moana for over a year. Ms Kuvaoga said Mr Amuli had changed the burial place from Zororo Cemetery to Warren Hills to exclude from the funeral gathering.
“I aver that this matter is urgent on the reasons that the burial is on 20 November 2020 and belated hearing would prejudice me. There would be nothing to motivate in that matter since the object of the lawsuit would become dead.
“I therefore submit that there would be no remedy for a cause rendered academic,” she said.
Ms Kuvaoga said once Moana was buried, the position becomes irreversible and it would be unfair for her and other mourners to be denied an opportunity to bid her farewell.