JUST as surely as the sun rises and sets, so too shall our time on earth come to pass and it is unfortunate that there is no guarantee of a final resting place as Lusaka municipal authorities are now in a panic trying to secure land.The Lusaka City Council (LCC) says it is waiting for Government through the ministerial committee to allocate a piece of land where a new burial site for the city can be established.For, sure Lusaka has seen an exponential growth in its population with many housing settlements largely unplanned.The dilemma of where to bury the dead leaves ine with a bitter taste in the mouth because subjects around death are taboo.However, it is critical that this aspect of life be addressed.The current population of Lusaka is estimated at around 2,774,000 and is one of the fastests growing municipalities.
LCC Public Relations officer George Simuchimba said a new burial site has not yet been found as the local authority is waiting for the responsible ministerial committee to identify a new burial site in the capital city.
Mr Simuchimba said the committee which comprises the ministries of Local government, Lands and Home Affairs is responsible for identifying a new cemetery following the depletion of burial spaces at Leopard hill, Chunga and Chingwere cemeteries.In an interview with ZANIS, Mr Simuchimba said the council has no powers to look for burial sites outside Lusaka saying such responsibilities lie in government officials at higher levels.And when asked about the comments by Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa’s statement to the media that negotiations were underway to secure land in Kafue district for a burial site, Mr Simuchimba declined to comment.“It is beyond our jurisdiction, Kafue is another district, and we do not have the powers to go to Kafue. That is why the matter is being addressed at that level,” he said.Recently, Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa said LCC was negotiating with Kafue council to secure land to open up new burial sites for the city following the filling up of the existing ones.The Mayor was troubled by the cost of burial space being offered by some private players but options are scarce.Lusaka city has run out of burial space leading to challenges by the deceased families in finding alternative burial sites from the tradiotional Leopards Hill, Mutumbi and Chingwere.There have been incidences where burial sites are squeezed in between existing graves.The government in its plans to modernise infrastructure has embarked on a decongestion project that has seen roads expanded, while the water supply and sanitation have also been upgraded.Provision of health services have also been expanded but the aspect of burial sites has largely been left unattended.The burden that comes with the loss of life should not be further exacerbated by the lack of burial space.
It is hoped that Government will move quickly to plan for burial sites for Lusaka’s growing population.