ISHMAEL Amuli, the biological father of the late socialite and party animal Michelle “Moana” Amuli, yesterday insisted that her daughter was Muslim because he raised her as such and to the best of his knowledge, she had not converted to any other religion or abandoned Moslem culture by the time she died.
Amuli further told the High Court judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda that he wanted his daughter to be buried according to the Islam religion and it was unfair for the biological mother, Yolanda Kuvaoga, to allege that Moana was no longer following the Moslem culture.
“I never refused what they wanted I only argued that according to the Muslim tradition the deceased’s corpse doesn’t spend the night in the home so she would spend the night at Doves and go her house for a few hours before the burial.
“My daughter is a Muslim. They are only buried at Warren Hills where we have a site set aside for Muslims. I never agreed to have her buried at Zororo; we were arguing, she will not be barred from doing whatever they want at the grave,” he said.
Yolanda Kuvaoga told Justice Kwenda that her main grievance was that Amuli wants to bury her child in her absence that is why she sought the court’s intervention and also confirmed that when Amuli got the burial order she was aware.
Representing Ishmael Amuli, Arshiel Mugiya said he felt he did justice to the arguments and hopes to win the case and have the late socialite and video vixen buried according to her father’s Islam background.
“We are handling the mortuary bills and we have also catered for the funeral arrangements at Warren Hills where we have paid for the grave.
“What has happened is that we went into court and argued the matter, the other party who is Michelle’s mother, was praying that she wanted the deceased to be buried at Zororo Park in terms of the Christian beliefs and our stance was that we want the daughter to be buried at Warren Hills in terms of the Islam tradition.
“The basis of the application was of course the fact that Mr Amuli raised his child from 1994-2013, I can’t comment on how the matter will turn out that would be subjudice but the ruling will be handed down on Wednesday, we are satisfied with the arguments we made and we hope for the best.
“We have no intentions to bar anyone from participating in the funeral processions. The unfortunate part is that we were dragged to court and we have the right to oppose,” he said.
Similarly, representing Yolanda Kuvaoga’s lawyers Manaseh Makore and Paidamoyo Madondo said he was happy with the arguments but is concerned about the gap within the Zimbabwean law with respect to burial rites.
“It went very well, we presented our case and we have confidence that we will have an equitable decision, you will understand that there is a gap in the laws of Zimbabwe with relation to burial rites, so this is a very interesting case, so we are going to see an outcome that is in the interests of justice for both parties, it was a well-argued matter,” said Makore.
Yolanda filed an application seeking an interdict to have the court cancel the burial order acquired by Amuli to have Moana buried at the Warren Hills Muslim section.
Yolanda, through her lawyers argued that her daughter was no longer a Muslim evidenced by her lifestyle and the circumstances surrounding her death.
“The application before you the applicant seeks for recognition as the mother of the child the deceased was styled Moana which ironically is a cartoon character that rebelled from her father and went away from him.
“The question here is that she prays on this court to have the deceased buried in circumstances in which she will be present there was an agreement between the parties and the family of the deceased father had approached the family of the applicant but went behind her back and changed the plans,” said Makore.
Justice Kwenda then asked him to go straight to the point and give the cause of action in the matter and further reiterated that he needed to State the law in which the application was being made and the kind of order they were seeking to have and whether there was a legal framework for it.
“We humbly apply for an interdict for the decision of the issuance of the burial order be set aside and that the applicant and whoever she shall allow her to be involved in the burial arrangements he decision to issue a burial order would yield a state of affairs that would be discriminatory to the mother of the child,” replied Makore.
“I’m not the registrar of births and deaths. If it is a review state that it’s a review of the decision that was made by the registrar or by Amuli. I can only make an order when you make submissions before me that such a decision was made, I cannot set aside anything.
“The registrar has no discretion he was just presented by the confirmation of death and issued the burial order which is an administrative issue. I need to know the terms of the law in which the application is being made,” said Justice Kwenda.
Mugiya opposed the application arguing that it was an ill-conceived.
“What the applicant seeks is to set aside a decision that was lawfully issued in terms of the Births and Deaths act, the cremation act, if the applicant has issues with that they must seek a review and convince the court that there was something illegal or amiss with the order issued
“What the applicant ought to have done was to file an application for review and an urgent chamber application to temporarily stop the burial. There’s no proper cause of action that has been placed before you and the court cannot make a review that isn’t being sought.
“The real dispute is that she doesn’t want the deceased to be buried in the Muslim way and is speculating that she will be barred from participating in the burial arrangements up to the actual burial.
“Amuli says she will be there at the burial to bath and dress the deceased and concedes that the body can be taken to her place of residence and it’s unfair to say that Moana had abandoned Muslim because he raised her in the Muslim religion and she hadn’t taken up any religion that he is aware of. The complaints of the applicant aren’t factual,” he said.
After hearing from the lawyers as well as the parents who were not cross-examined, Justice Kwenda then closed the session by saying that a court ruling will be available Wednesday afternoon.