Buried body for over 1 year Exhumed, reburied after mix-up
The remains of Maxwell Chimwamurombe, which had earlier been jointly buried with the body of a pauper following a mix up by Doves Funeral Services (DFS) 14 months ago, were finally interred at his rural home yesterday.
The remains were initially buried at Granville Cemetery in Harare in a bizarre incident that shocked the nation.
Citing Covid-19 regulations which barred body viewing back then, the funeral service concern buried a coffin that was stuffed with body bags and plastics instead of Maxwell’s remains.
Yesterday, a sombre atmosphere engulfed Matoropito Village under Chief Katerere in Nyanga as mourners gathered to pay their last respects.
Friends and relatives sobbed when Doves Funeral Services finally delivered the correct remains confirmed through Deoxyribonucleic Acid tests (DNA).
Addressing mourners as her brother’s coffin was being lowered into the grave, the late Maxwell’s sister — Memory Chimwamurombe — who was the policyholder said:
“Finally my brother is at peace, his spirit has rested, and it’s been a long journey. Whatever happened I will now leave it to God.”
Community leaders who spoke to The Sunday Mail said the funeral assurance company had disrespected them by not sending a representative to address mourners.
Matoropito Village Headman, Mr Joseph Chitambara, said the company had inflicted more pain on the community which expected the funeral services provider to shed light on the mistakes that caused the initial burial boob.
“We thought they would send someone to at least give a word of comfort to the bereaved family, instead they dispatched a driver.
“Everyone here is not happy. As traditional leaders, we had issues we needed to iron out with them before burial.”
However, the Chimwamurombe family acknowledged that Doves Funeral Services provided the coffin and some of the food at the funeral.
Family spokesperson Mr Adam Chimwamurombe said he was at peace that Maxwell could finally rest.
“We are glad that he can now finally rest, we have had challenges and some friction with Doves when we were trying to reach common ground.
“The negotiations took long, and after such an experience we just concluded that we needed to let our relative rest after one year and two months,” he said.
He said the family had cleared all outstanding issues with the funeral services company.
Doves Funeral Services spokesperson Mr Innocent Tshuma said the company remained apologetic to the Chimwamurombe family.
“This has been a very difficult time for the Chimwamurombe family. In the spirit of Ubuntu, as Doves, we pray the laying to rest of their loved one, Maxwell, will begin the process of closure and healing,” he said in a text message.
Maxwell drowned in the flooded Nyamombe River in Nyanga in March last year and his body could not be found for weeks.
When it was discovered, it was at an advanced state of decomposition and some of his body parts were scattered on the riverbank.
The remains were reportedly collected in a plastic bag and sent to Harare.
Strangely, the undertaker who was to take the body for burial left with the coffin only containing blankets and body bags.
Some workers at Doves Funeral Services later discovered their slip-up, but instead of informing the family, the funeral parlour buried Maxwell’s remains at Granville Cemetery in Harare, inside a coffin containing the body of a pauper.
Doves faces two counts of fraud. Investigations into the matter are understood to be still ongoing. Sunday Mail.