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Fight Over Corpse Takes Families To Court

Some of the deceased's family members squarring up in court PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Peace reigned in the Kapondorah family of Tonota who on Friday had to seek court intervention to determine who of them had the legal right to bury one of their own.

While Kapondorah’s siblings, spouse and family felt it behoved them to lay Samuel Kapondorah peacefully, his children, Thato Lorato Kapondorah and Goitse Tumelo Kapondorah, through their attorney, Morupi Mbeha thought otherwise.  Samuel’s children demanded that their father be laid to final rest in Gaborone and not Tonota as his relatives had arranged.

Just like a script from a Nigerian movie, things allegedly came to a head when police stormed the Kapondorah home to serve them with an urgent court application prohibiting them from burying Samuel.

The police allegedly arrived at around 5am, interrupting the viewing of Samuel’s corpse and demanding that he be returned to the mortuary as per the court order. The application had insisted that if it so happened that the deceased was to be buried in defiance of the court order, he would be exhumed. It is alleged that the deceased’s children had earlier on been chased away and denied the opportunity to participate in their father’s burial, something that forced them to rush to the courts in the week of an ongoing burial proceeding.

The Monitor is reliably informed that Samuel’s family sidelined the deceased’s children from participating in their father’s burial claiming that the family does not know them. However, presenting their arguments before court, it is alleged that the deceased’s children submitted a copy of a funeral programme of one of the family members showing that they were part of that event along with a relative called David, something that showed they were all along well-known to the Kapondorah family.

Appearing before Gaborone High Court last Friday one of the deceased’s children, Goitse and David, the brother to the deceased, represented by attorney Busang Manewe, signed a settlement agreement before Justice Michael Mothobi permitting the deceased’s children to meaningfully participate in the preparatory activities and proceedings of their father’s funeral.

The court ordered that the burial of the deceased should take place in Tonota on June 12, 2018. By the end of Friday the court had ordered the respondents, David and Lydia Kapondorah,

to give the deceased’s children a certified copy of the original of their father’s death certificate.  The court further stated that for avoidance of doubt the parties should mutually agree on the procedure to be adopted at the funeral.

Both parties further agreed that the issue of costs is to be referred to argument on a date to be assigned by the court.

The Monitor has learnt that even though the deceased is alleged to have been residing in Block 3, Gaborone with  one Khumo Walecha Mophuting, whom he was romantically involved with for the last 13 years up until his death, he had a surviving spouse, Lydia being the second respondent in the matter.

However, this publication is reliably informed that Lydia is adamant that she and her husband physically lived apart on account of work commitments, but her marriage with the deceased was not an empty shell.

It is alleged Lydia claims that even though they were living apart they continued to exchange mutual visits and have been doing projects together.

Lydia, who is currently based in Francistown as a nurse, is allegedly dismissive of claims that she had separated from her husband back in 1997 and had since produced their marriage certificate before court stating that they have been married since 1977. The Monitor is reliably informed that Lydia does not dispute the fact that at the time of her husband’s passing, the deceased was residing in Gaborone Block 3, in theirjoint property with one Marang Romeo Mophuting.

This publication has also learnt that Lydia claims that at the time she and the deceased got married, the applicants were not yet born and that they may not have been sired from a previous relationship, making them a product of an adulterous relationship.

It is alleged that the deceased’s wife claims that the children’s mother was never married to the deceased and that she, Lydia and Samuel never adopted the children in their marriage hence the convenient and suspect circumstances that they assumed her husband’s surname.




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