Residents fight to bury relatives in front yards

HARARE - Goromonzi residents have been told by their local authority that they should not bury their deceased relatives in their homesteads, sparking angry denunciations.

Enock Tapfumaneyi, a resident in the area,  said they were shocked to be notified that they were to stop all burials as the land was reserved.

“It has been said, I understand by the officers, that we were not allowed to have cemeteries in the village,” he said.

“I do not understand what they meant or mean with this as we are still burying the dead despite their word as I think all this should have been in writing if its official.”

His sister, Anne, also quizzed what would happen to the graves of those who were buried years ago on the same plot.

Council officials have told residents that they were to start making use of the Ruwa Cemetery, which is a long distance from Goromonzi.

“Our ancestors were buried on this land and they want us to just disregard that, which is very impossible,” Tapfumaneyi said. “They have no respect for the dead as shown by what they are doing.”

He told the Daily News the land dispute in Goromonzi had prompted them to seek legal advice as to the way forward.

“They just come in and peg the land without notifying the people,” he said. “We told them there are enough schools to cater for the people in the area but because they are overcrowding Goromonzi with their new stands, they are forcing people off the land.

“The new stands are now encroaching into our fields which serve as livelihood for many.

“The sad thing is that with all the development they claim to be bring to the area, they have nowhere to put the people once they have been displaced.”

While council officials were not immediately available for comment on the issue, John Masimba Manyanya of Simukai Rural Residents Trust said some Goromonzi and Ruwa district council officials were also causing confusion as they were now pegging land without justification or consultation with the people.

Manyanya highlighted that the officials would just pitch up at a homestead with a truckload of people and declare the residents illegal occupants.

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