Last month, the parliamentary standing committee on social affairs presented a report containing its assessment of why cremation had not been embraced by Rwandans despite the existence of the law allowing and regulating it. The report highlighted, among other obstacles, the lack of facilities and cultural challenges. While some parliamentarians suggesting that cremation would be a permanent solution to land shortage and the high cost of burials, its proposed implementation has continued to stir debate. MP Pierre Claver Rwaka, said the country does not have professionals to conduct cremation properly. “With the right materials cremation can be done easily from anywhere there is a mortuary and it is a quick process, but we do not have those materials in Rwanda and it is a big challenge,” he said. The absence of such facilities is in part attributed to the lack of interest from the private sector. “Also the private sector is not encouraged to invest in this, which leaves it all in the hands of the government and cremation comes at a high cost which is why is available for foreigners and not Rwandans” Rwaka said. Cultural barriers have also been an obstacle, according to the legislators. MP Anitha Mutesi says that; “Some people in our society view cremation as disrespect to their deceased loved ones.” However, Reverend Canon Antoine Rutayisire of Remera Anglican Church in Kigali said the bible does not condemn the practice and it is not a sin. “What you do with the body after death is not a big issue, because when we resurrect this is not the body we will have, after all when we put the body in the ground it is the last time as far as the dead person is concerned, so it is not an issue if we cremated the body and keep the ash for commemoration,” he stated. What the ministries in charge say Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth and Culture Edouard Bamporiki said that when leaders sit and pass the law then the culture does not condemn the practice, because it is already an accepted policy in the country. “Culture expands, and we need to adapt. But when something is new then we explain to people that this practice is fine, and when it comes to death it is an emotional and sensitive issue, so it is a process that we take slow,” Bamporiki said. However, he added, the young generation are willing to embrace the practice, because some of them have seen it being done elsewhere and it is easier to show them and sensitize them. Ignatienne Nyirarukundo, Minister of State in charge of Social Affairs in the Ministry of Local Government, says cremation has not taken root because Rwandans have not asked for it. “We have not bought the equipment for cremation because Rwandans do not need it …they still use traditional way and it is not something we can impose on them, we will provide the right equipment and infrastructure once the people ask for it,” she said. On the issue of land shortage, she said, cemeteries can be re-used after like 20 years. When the law on cremation was passed, she explained, it was to cater for those who might want to do so in the future, but not to solve land shortage because the land is enough.