The Rusape family is currently embroiled in a dispute over the burial place for their late son and husband, Justice Justen Murungu, who passed away in the UK on June 5. The conflict has escalated to the point where it reached the High Court for resolution.
Justice’s wife, Lydia Dambaza, their son, Athanasius Murungu, and Lydia’s brother, Rickmore Dambaza, desire to bury him at Glen Forest Cemetery. However, Justice’s mother, Gogo Patricia Murungu, insists on laying him to rest in Murungu Village, under Chief Makoni, in Rusape.
Unable to find a resolution amongst themselves, Gogo Murungu sought legal advice, and her lawyer, Moffat Makuvatsine, filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court. Gogo Murungu argues that according to custom, the responsibility of burial lies with the deceased’s family.
High Court Judge Neville Wamambo ruled in favor of Gogo Murungu, ordering that Justice’s body should not be buried at Glen Forest Cemetery. Additionally, the judge instructed Nyaradzo Funeral Services not to release the body to Lydia, Athanasius, and Rickmore without the presence of Gogo Murungu.
According to Gogo Murungu’s lawyer, she believes that burying her son in Murungu Village, where his father and other relatives are laid to rest, is in accordance with his wishes. She expressed her desire to be buried alongside her son and husband in the future.
On the other hand, Lydia argued that she shared a closer bond with her late husband and should be entrusted with the responsibility of organizing the burial. She claimed that she was the one who repatriated Justice’s body to Zimbabwe. Rickmore, Lydia’s brother, supported her position, noting that Justice’s family did not contribute anything towards the repatriation expenses.
Lydia reportedly canceled the Nyaradzo funeral policy after the court ruling and expressed her decision not to attend her husband’s burial. She expressed sadness about the court’s decision and was also unhappy that her in-laws did not allow her husband’s body to pass through their matrimonial home in Marlborough.
As of now, mourners are divided, with some gathered at Gogo Murungu’s home in Glen View and others in Marlborough. The situation remains tense and unresolved, with each side holding firm to their respective positions regarding Justice’s final resting place.- state media