Masvingo runs out of burial space

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MASVINGO city has run of out burial space prompting the local authority to make an urgent application for more land from central government.

The city’s cemeteries include Mangwandi Cemetery, Pioneer Cemetery on the outskirts of the City and Lawn Cemetery along Mutare Road.

Masvingo acting town clerk Edward Mukaratirwa said the council has been forced to make small extensions to burial spaces at Mangwandi and Lawn Cemeteries as a stop gap measure.

“Mangwandi Cemetery can no longer accommodate more graves as we speak as the existing space is now overwhelmed while Lawn Cemetery and Pioneer Cemetery in town can still accommodate more burials but in no time they will also run out of space.

“For the medium to long term, Council has submitted requests to government to be offered 15 hectares of land in peri-urban farms for the purpose of a cemetery,” Mukaratirwa said.

He added that they had pleaded with the government to positively respond to their request as a matter of urgency.

“The central government has acquired land in the peri-urban farms therefore they have the land, all we are asking for is for them to quickly consider allocating us the 15 hectares for setting up the cemetery,” he said.

Meanwhile, deputy mayor Wellington Mahwende said some councillors had recommended cremation for the bereaved families to address the space issue.

“Cremation is not common in Zimbabwe but if we run out of grave space these are some of the things that we are supposed to consider. I know it’s a process to have cremation approved but as a council, we can have mandatory cremation for specific ages of people, say children under 12 when they die,” Mahwende said.

However, Masvingo United Ratepayers and Residents Alliance (MURRA) spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba said, as residents with strong traditional and cultural backgrounds, they are against the idea of cremation.

“To us that is un-cultural and we cannot dispose our loved one that way. We urge the council to remember that we are Africans and we have our own traditional ways of burying the remains of our loved ones therefore we cannot borrow western practices.

“Council should just stick to applying for more land from government and by the way we have plenty acres of land at council farms near the city and that can be an option, cremation is not and will never be an option,” Mtimba said.
Masvingo urban has a population of over 100 000 and it is still growing as youths continue to migrate from rural areas to seek greener pastures and opportunities in the city.

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