Gatsibo District decries shrinking cemetery space

Authorities in Gatsibo District are worried about the shrinking space for burial in cemeteries, especially around Kabarore town.

Authorities in Gatsibo District are worried about the shrinking space for burial in cemeteries, especially around Kabarore town.

The concern came up at a recent meeting between Rwanda Development Board (RDB) officials with investors in Eastern Province, with reports indicating that charges for burial grounds have been hiked.

Gatsibo mayor Richard Gasana acknowledged this, and called on the private sector to invest in public cemetery, especially around Kabarore town.

Kabarore Sector executive secretary Richard Murego said the burial ground they have is filled up.

“We had a small cemetery at Kabeza but it got full years ago. We have been improvising with one at Karenge, which is a bit far, small and not well prepared for a town like Kabarore,” said Murego.

According to residents of Kabarore, the scarcity of a decent final place for residents has led to hiking of prices at Karenge so far to Rwf50,000 from Rwf5000.

This, coupled with the poor conditions of the cemetery at Karenge, has compelled the locals to opt for taking their deceased loved ones to Simbwa and Marimba cemeteries, about five miles away, while others have resorted to burying in their traditional homesteads, according to different accounts.

Gatsibo vice-mayor in charge of economic development, Theogene Manzi, told The New Times that they have heard of “the high charges at the cemetery and are planning a meeting with sector authorities and the cooperative that runs it.”

One of the investors in the area, Kabaroro United Traders Cooperative (KUTC), said they are trying to consider investing in cemetery and secure big land for it but it proves very expensive.

KUTC’s finance officer Vincent Rutebuka said: “Land in Kabarore though not a big town as such is very expensive and expropriation as well that’s why we’re taking our time to think and think again about the venture.”

Murego said the town would need a big and advanced cemetery of five to 10 hectares of land and that authorities were ready to work with anyone willing to take up cemetery venture.

Meanwhile, the public also have the option for cremation of the dead but the majority are reluctant to take it up, many citing cultural values.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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