JACKSON MAPAPAYI writes
THREE residents in Solwezi have been arrested in connection with illegal developments and activities at the Kimasala Cemetery.
In 2015, the Solwezi Municipal Council closed the Kimasala graveyard but recently discovered that part of the graveyard had been turned into a block making arena while some residents had put up some structures.
Solwezi Municipal Council in collaboration with Zambia Police apprehended Anord Chingwa, Moses Sakunda and Mwebela Kabembela in a crackdown aimed at bringing sanity to land development and planning.
Council Assistant Public Relations Manager, Esther Chirwa, said that Arnold Chingwa had been arrested for building a house and block moulding while Moses Sakunda and Mwebela Kabembela were cited for block moulding within the old graveyard.
“The suspects are in police custody awaiting trial in the courts of law,” she said.
Ms Chirwa said if convicted, the suspects would be liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred thousand penalty units (K60, 000.00) or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both.
She said according to the Penal Code Act Chapter 87 in Section 130, every person who, with the knowledge that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded, commits any trespass in any place set apart for the performance of funeral rites or as a depository for the remains of the dead is guilty of a misdemeanour.
“Additionally, Section 71 of the Urban and Regional Planning Act No. 3 of 2015 stipulates that a person commits an offence if that person, without lawful authority, uses or occupies any piece or parcel of land or building or erects any building or structure in any area without the prior approval of the planning authority within whose jurisdiction the land is situated,” she said.
Recently, Solwezi Municipal Council Town Clerk undertook a site visit of the Kimasala graveyard and discovered that some people were putting up structures.
Some structures were at slab level whereas three structures were already finished and occupied with two of them connected to the ZESCO power line.
It was also discovered that the developers were not in possession of any Council documents to back their activities.
Ms Chirwa said it was saddening that some people had continued disrespecting the dead by undertaking illegal activities at the old graveyard.