Moana father Amuli granted rights to daughter’s body and burial

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By Mary Taruvinga

HIGH Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda has granted the rights of the late fitness model Mitchell ‘Moana’ Amuli’s body and burial to her father Ishmael Amuli.

This followed an application by the mother Yolanda Kuvaoga who was seeking cancellation of a burial order issued by the registrar of birth and deaths on November 18.

Moana died in a fatal road accident November 8.

The accident claimed the life of socialite and millionaire, Genius Kadungure, who was popularly known as Ginimbi.

Kuvaoga approached the High Court arguing that her daughter required a send-off befitting of her celebrity status and not a Muslim one as wanted by Amuli.

But Kwenda ruled that the mother was simply “basking in the perceived grandeur of the deceased lifestyle” without giving the courts reasons and evidence on why she did not want Amuli to bury her daughter.

The judge also said Kuvaoga was barely present in her daughter’s life while Amuli raised his daughter alone.

He said Amuli also chose religion for her daughter at a tender age and there was no dispute that she was raised as a Muslim from a time she was barely a year old.

“Coming to this case, having read the law, in resolving this dispute, the parties did not undertake choice of law, but applicant (Kuvaoga) cherry picked arguments which suit her wishes.

“The deceased died instantly and did not choose where to be buried and how. The heir and executor are not yet known. So, I could not benefit anything from that in concluding this case,” said Kwenda.

He said Amuli appeared genuine and he (judge) has no reason to disbelieve him.

“Applicant did not give me any evidence that respondent tried to disturb the burial. It is common cause that a body is washed but court has no business in that or what will be eaten during the burial.

“I do not have evidence that the deceased was a celebrity which gave her elevated social status.

“The applicant’s oral evidence has no relevance. That the respondent (Amuli) did not pay Lobola for her has nothing to do with this case.

“The right to family is fundamental and a constitutional right. The deceased should be identified by the beliefs and culture of their families.

“The first respondent raised the deceased, he chose religion of Islam for her in her early life, while applicant was absent. It was respondent’s duty to choose religion for her.

“She was 26 and related well with her father until when she went away for a year.”

The judge said it did not matter they were apart for a year as father and daughter as the time is not too long.

Kwenda also said there was no evidence that Moana changed religion at any point in life.

“Applicant did not convince this court how the lifestyle of her daughter at time of death changes this solemn occasion,” he said.

“I therefore conclude that the burial order was correctly issued with the knowledge of the applicant, it remains valid.

“The application for an interdict cannot succeed,” ruled Kwenda.

Application was filed on November 20 by Kuvaoga.

But Kwenda said the application was misplaced.