High drama, confusion and controversy have become the hallmarks of the late socialite and fitness trainer Michelle “Moana” Amuli’s burial with the feud surrounding her interment dividing opinion among society.
The matter has now been taken to the High Court, which is today expected to rule over the dispute between the deceased’s parents over her burial.
The feud between the late socialite’s parents has hogged much of the limelight since Moana died alongside Malawian businessman Limumba Karim and Mozambican model Alichia Adams when Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure’s Rolls-Royce vehicle collided with a Honda Fit along Borrowdale Road a fortnight ago.
Kadungure died in the accident and was buried last week on Saturday inside the grounds of his million-dollar mansion in Nyamande Village, Domboshava.
The quartet was heading to Ginimbi’s mansion in Domboshava coming from Moana’s 26th birthday party at Ginimbi’s Dreams Nightclub, formerly Sankayi, situated in Harare’s Avenues area.
The interment of Moana was delayed as the family had to follow a lengthy deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing process to verify her remains after she was burnt beyond recognition.
A chain of events has continued to play out for the past days disrupting all the proposed funeral arrangements for Moana that included a church service at Doves parlour and a stopover at the accident scene along Borrowdale Road.
Initially, Moana was supposed to have been buried last Wednesday at Zororo Park Cemetery along Seke Road. But the burial was later moved to Thursday before being stopped again at the 11th hour as family wrangles took centre stage. her parents could not agree on religious rites and burial site.
The deceased’s mother Yolander Kuvaoga and father Ishmael Amuli, who are on separation, have so far failed to agree on how their daughter should be buried with the husband flexing his muscles to follow their Muslim cultural rites, which his wife is against.
“I am Muslim and my daughter should be buried as per our tradition.
“Her body should not lie in state in Highfield as they wanted,” Moana’s father said earlier.
As the chaos and drama took centre stage, Moana’s mother, represented by her lawyer Jerome Madondo, made an urgent chamber application at the High Court on Friday to nullify the burial order that was issued on Wednesday.
The application is meant to stop her estranged husband, who is being represented by Marcus Zvirahwa, from reneging on their prior agreement that Moana was to be buried at Zororo Cemetery along the Harare-Chitungwiza road.
Moana’s mother wants the court to grant an interim interdict to stop the burial until the finalisation of the matter.
High Court judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda on Friday deferred the matter to tomorrow by consent from both parties’ lawyers as he wants to hear the two parties’ oral evidence before making an informed decision on the dispute.
The judge also wants Amuli’s lawyer Zvirahwa to file his opposing papers.
“This matter be deferred to Monday November 23, 2020 at 3pm, which shall be the return date for this matter,” Kwenda said.
“The first respondent (Amuli) shall file his notice of opposition by 9am on Monday November 23, 2020. The applicant and first respondent shall attend the hearing on Monday November 23, 2020 to give oral evidence.”
In her founding affidavit, Moana’s mother said she had an agreement with Amuli that their daughter be buried at Zororo Cemetery in the presence of the deceased’s relatives and friends.
She said Amuli later told her that Moana would be buried according to the rites of Islam in her absence, contrary to what they had earlier agreed on.
“I have 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 Amuli stated that she would be excluded from the funeral gathering, which in her opinion would be unacceptable as she is the deceased’s mother.
Moana’s mother also told the court that her daughter 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,” she said.
“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.”
Moana’s mother said Amuli had changed the burial place from Zororo Cemetery to Warren Hills to exclude her from the funeral gathering, adding that it would be unfair for her and other mourners to be denied an opportunity to bid Moana farewell.