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Municipal cemeteries in sorry state

by Staff reporter
05 Feb 2020 at 05:54hrs | Views
Council-run cemeteries in Harare are not being properly maintained, with most graves covered by tall grass and weeds. So bad is the state of neglect that visitors struggle to locate the graves of their loved ones at Granville Cemetery, popularly known as "kuMbudzi".

The once upmarket Warren Hills Cemetery is not any better and so is the situation at Pioneer Cemetery in Mbare which has been turned into a sex haven and public toilet by vendors at the nearby Mupedzanhamo Flea Market and others.

Vendors sell their wares to mourners in the cemeteries, but do not care to clean the litter.

The situation is however, completely different at privately-owned cemeteries like Glen Forest and Zororo memorial parks which boast well-manicured gardens. Security is tight at privately-owned cemeteries which also maintain strict rules on visitors.

Graves for members of the Islamic, Jewish and Greek communities were well-maintained at Warren Hills Cemetery.

At Pioneer Cemetery, a small section in the corner of Remembrance Drive is an official Commonwealth War Graves cemetery that is properly maintained through separate management and funding.

But in the rest of the cemeteries, people can be seen weeding their relatives' graves while some reportedly pay council workers to maintain the graves. Sex workers plying their trade at-PFukwa Shops in Warren Park D have turned Warren Hills Cemetery into a love nest.

Harare corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the overall maintenance of cemeteries was council's duty and council workers were working on cutting grass.

"The cemeteries are maintained by council, but the graves are maintained by relatives of the deceased who may want to put tombstones and flowers. Graves covered by grass at Warren Hills cemetery "Grass cutting and the overall site management is done by council. Currently, we are calling on life assurance companies to partner the city for the maintenance of grave sites and this will give them an opportunity to market their brands.

"In terms of what we are doing on grave sites, we want to achieve 75 percent customer satisfaction by year end. We want partners to come on board and help council in the maintenance of graves.

Mr Chideme accused sand poachers of damaging roads leading to cemeteries.

"The roads at Granville Cemetery are being destroyed by sand poachers. We are therefore urging the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the police and the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) to chip in and arrest those who are digging for pit sand and impound the vehicles that are not roadworthy which are being used to carry out such activities," he said.

A vendor at Granville, who only identified herself as Mrs Ndoro, said she enjoyed brisk business selling at the cemetery than at designated sites.

"I used to sell my stuff along the Harare-Masvingo Highway, but this has become my usual spot," she said.

Source - the herald