Local Government Minister tours cemeteries, expresses concern on shortage of burial space

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Local Government and Housing Minister Honourable Stephen Kampyongo says government was concerned with increasing reports of diminishing burial spaces in Lusaka. The minister was speaking when he toured chingwere, chunga, new and old leopard’s hill cemeteries recently. He said the decision to tour the cemeteries was to ascertain the extent of the problems following the complaints from the general public and the concerns raised by the council concerning the burial spaces. On the same tour the minister also took time to inspect the mourners’ shelters both at Chunga and Leopards hill cemeteries. Honourable Kampyongo expressed concern at the dilapidated shelter and instructed the council to renovate especially the one at Chunga cemetery. “My coming here was to appreciate the magnitude of the problem and I have seen that the situation is quite desperate we need to move quickly in securing land for the burial site. I also want to instruct Lusaka City Council to ensure that the mourners’ shelter at Chunga is renovated because it will be difficult for the mourner’s especially during rainy season like this to conduct burials,” he said.

image002The Minister orders LCC to rehabilitate the mourner’s shelter at Chunga cemetery

And Acting Director of Public Health Mr. Imwana Mwanamwalye informed the minister that the situation was desperate because the actual burial spaces had run out what was remaining were the in-fills. “Right now Honourable Minister burials are done wherever we have space in between the existing graves and also we have opted to close some of the roads to create some burial spaces,” he said. Mr. Mwanamwalye further indicated that in a month approximately 1000 burial were being conducted and that the situation of lack of burial spaces had been compounded by lack of land in Lusaka district. He said efforts to acquire land have been made by the council however it had been difficult. “On our own as LCC we have also tried to look for land but nothing tangible has come out, hence the decision to involve the government,” he said. The Director informed the minister that the council had written to the Ministry of Lands to be helped to find land in the neighbouring districts however no response has been received.

Meanwhile, Lusaka City Council Town Clerk Mr. Alex Mwansa reiterated the need to expedite the process of securing land before the few remaining spaces were completely depleted. Mr. Mwansa said the council would depend on the government through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and the Ministry of Lands to help the council in finding land. “Our proposal is to have an integrated planning were all neighbouring districts namely Chingwe, Chibombo, Chisamba and Chilanga can be planning together that way even burial spaces can be shared however our appeal is to the government to help us convene a stakeholders meeting were we can discuss such issues,” he said. In response to the minister’s concerns the Town clerk assured the minister that the council would address the issues of mourners’ shelter as directed. “Honourable Minister we will ensure that those concerns are addressed as soon as possible and we will also endeavour computerise the record keeping as well,” he said. The minister was accompanied on the tour by the LCC Finance, Human Resource and General Purposes Committee Chairperson Councillor Crispin Kabole as well as LCC management.