HomeSocialMbarara leadership allocates two plots for city cemeteries.

Mbarara leadership allocates two plots for city cemeteries.

Joshua Nahamya

Mbarara 

Finally, Mbarara city leadership has identified two plots of land to resolve the ongoing impulse of the lack of a city cemetery where to bury unclaimed bodies.

This follows a crisis when a section of residents from Katebe Cell, Kakoma Ward in Kakiika Mbarara City North Division, attacked the city council on 20th February 2024, asking the city leadership to exhume 42 bodies that were buried in their area.

According to Assy Abirebe Tumwesigire, Mbarara city town clerk, the impulse was concluded during a crisis meeting held on Wednesday between the city leadership and division leaders of Mbarara city north and south.

Tumwesigire explained to the public that the city cemeteries will not only be for the unclaimed bodies but also for people who have no traditional land in the neighborhood where to bury the deceased.

“We wanted to create awareness that a cemetery is our cardinal responsibility and it is not only about unclaimed bodies because even if there are people who may be coming from far away and perhaps they don’t have resources to take their dead bodies there they will have to ask us,” he said adding that, there are people who are residents around and may not have homesteads in their upcountry” he explained

The city town clerk appealed to the people of Mbarara that once they are in the city, they are not supposed to be buried anywhere.

“By law, once you are in a city, you are supposed to bury in a gazetted area so-called the city cemetery,” Tumwesigire said

He said that “people are even allowed to make modern tombs and even write on them to easily identify their bodies in the subsequent years to come”.

According to Tumwesigire, Mbarara city’s south division identified Kambuga village while the North division is still harmonizing about the matter.

“As a council, we said that with technical guidance from the physical planners, they should also select the land where to bury unclaimed bodies from their area,” he said

The city town clerk appealed to the city leadership to hold extensive consultations to change the people’s mindset associated with evil.

“People seem to have a feeling that when you are burying in a certain place you are taking their curses but we agreed that this time we identify some pieces of land from the two divisions and we should do proper burying,” Tumwesigire said

He added that with the guidance of the executive, Mbarara city is going to have more than two cemeteries to cater for the unclaimed bodies in the city.

“We agreed that we are going to identify land in each of our two divisions and those lands must be properly landscaped and fenced and those burying must do it very well,” he said adding that, in the long run, we are going to have so many city cemeteries and people will appreciate,” Tumwesigire said

Mayor Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi retaliated that the situation is still tense thus urging the concerned leaders to address the matter.

“The issue of the cemetery was partly resolved but as of now, of course, we are still using the temporary means and we are still stuck with the unclaimed bodies in the city,” Kakyebezi said

Meanwhile, the city is looking forward to constructing a health center IV in the Nyakayojo ward in Mbarara City South.

“According to health designs, we found out that the land could not accommodate the proposed health center and as leaders we have sent the designs to the Ministry of Health for approval and we are still waiting,” Kakyebezi said

Speaking to Stephen Katurebe, Chairperson of Kyarwabuganda cell, said that the unclaimed bodies are still stuck in a community dam that serves more than 2000 people.

“It is very unfortunate that instead of providing us with national piped water, they worsened the situation by contaminating our community dam which is the only source of water that we depend on entirely for both domestic use and to feed our animals” Katurebe explained

The residents insist that the City Council should exhume the bodies and relocate them to a gazetted place far away from their main source of water in the area.

“If they knew that they were doing it legally, why did they bury the bodies hiding at night? For that matter we appeal to the city council if they can excavate these dead bodies and bury them or return them to the mortuary and burn them meanwhile as we plan to get where to allocate a city cemetery” Wilson Nkagyira, one of the residents, said

“I had them talking about two cemeteries but they should consult the leaders but not just burying bodies wherever they want because we earlier already have a challenge in the area where people are being killed and dumped on the way which meaning that if we don’t get a cemetery then everywhere there will be unclaimed bodies” he added

Godfrey Baryomunsi, Area Councillor representing Kakiika ward said that Mbarara City Council lost the former public graveyard in Rwobuyenje situated in Mbarara City North Division to land grabbers who connived with some leaders in the then Mbarara Municipality to take over and turn the cemetery into a real estate hub.

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