Court intervenes in burial tug-of-war between deceased’s children, rel

06Dec 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Court intervenes in burial tug-of-war between deceased’s children, rel

A protracted legal battle involving family members over the burial site of their beloved patriarch who died more than two weeks ago came to an end yesterday after a Dar es Salaam court ordered the body to be re-transferred to the commercial capital from Bunda District in Mara Region.

The Kisutu resident magistrate’s court’s ruling that the late Ernest Materego’s remains should be buried in Dar es Salaam was in favour of his children who had filed a case against a move by some other relatives to forcefully take Materego’s body and lay it to rest in his home village.

“These children have a legal right to bury their father…I hereby order the body of the late Ernest Materego to be returned to the city with all the documents including the burial permit, and be handed to his children”, said principal resident magistrate Thomas Simba in his final ruling.

He cited documentary evidence submitted by the deceased’s children — Joyce and Edwin Materego – which showed that the deceased himself had declared, in his own will, his wish to be buried in Dar es Salaam and not elsewhere.

It all started on November 19 this year when Ernest Mategero passed away at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in the city, after which his relatives including younger brother Gonche Materego decided to transfer the body to Bunda District for burial.

But the relatives are said to have made that decision without consulting the deceased’s wife and kids on whether the burial should take place in Bunda or Dar es Salaam. The relatives claimed to be close to the deceased and that they had been taking care of him during his illness and once admitted at MNH.

In his ruling, magistrate Simba called on all the parties involved (plaintiffs and respondents) to keep the peace among themselves during and after the burial. He ordered that all transport and burial costs be covered by the plaintiffs (children).

Simba said without going deep into the deceased’s marital issues, he trusted that the children knew their father very well since he had spent more than 30 years with them in the city.

The magistrate said having lived with his children for so long in Dar es Salaam, the deceased deserved to be buried in the city.

According to the submitted documents, the late Mategero was married and fathered four children whom he lived with in Dar es Salaam’s Pugu area from 1974.

It was said in court that the burial was supposed to wait for the children who live abroad to arrive and pay their last respects to their late father. But younger brother Gonche took the body from Dar es Salaam to Bunda before the children arrived in the city.

According to Gonche, the deceased was born and also lived for many years in Bunda, and should therefore be buried there as per local custom.

After the court ruling, respondents’ counsel Makaki Masatu said they respected the order of the court, while the children of the deceased said finally their father would be allowed to rest in peace in a place of his own choice.

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