The entrance to the new Heroes Park burial site at Leoprads Hill cemetry in Lusaka.jpg
The entrance to the new Heroes Park burial site at Leoprads Hill cemetry in Lusaka.jpg

THE Lusaka City Council (LCC) has been faced with the daunting task of looking for burial land as Chingwele and Leopards Hill cemeteries have no space for burial plots.

Last week, Lusaka Mayor George Nyenda told the Daily Nation that Chingwele cemetery has no more burial space. This has resulted in people burying their loved ones on the roadside.

Mr Nyendwa added that the situation has left the council with a huge task that will require an audience with the ministry of lands to look for burial space elsewhere.

Lusaka City Council public relations manager Mulunda Habeenzu said the council is looking for land in nearby districts that can be used for burial.

Mr Habeenzu has since revealed that the law allows for cremation of dead bodies and that people can debate whether to start cremating or not.

“The local government act allows for cremations of dead bodies but whether that can be done, it’s up to the people since Zambia is a Christian nation,” Mr Habeenzu said.

A check at Chingwele cemetery shows that the land earmarked for the expansion of the gravesite has been encroached. The land where the cemetery was supposed to extend to has houses on it. People now pass through the cemetery to access their homes.

The local government act allows for cremations of dead bodies but whether that can be done, it’s up to the people since Zambia is a Christian nation,” Mr Habeenzu said.

Last year government through the Lusaka City Council (LCC) was negotiating with Kafue and Chibombo district councils to secure land to open up new burial sites for the city following the filling up of the existing ones.

Local Government and Housing Deputy Minister Nicolas Banda told Parliament that there was no land available within the boundaries of Lusaka where a cemetery can be located.

He said Lusaka would need about 50 hectares of land for a new cemetery to satisfy the population of the city.

He said this when Lubaseshi Members of Parliament (MP) Patrick Mucheleka during the question for oral answer session, if Government had any plans to open up new burial sites in Lusaka in view of the shortage of burial spaces at existing cemeteries

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44 COMMENTS

    • In the Catholic Church crimination is not allowed. I don’t know about other churches. May be this what he meant.

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    • The levels of paganism are quite alarming on these posts! if you are Christian, whether catholic, Pentecostal or whatever, your only option is to bury. Period. Cremation is highly practiced in Asian religions like Hinduism but has been adopted world wide due to challenges cited above. In India trees are used to cremate a body and it can take the whole day to see one corpse completely burnt to ashes. Due to lack of wood, most corpses get only charred and thrown in the Ganges river to be finished off by fish. The same river doubles as a holy river. However, there are now modern crematorium with electric and fuel powered furnaces that can reduce you to less than 2kgs of ashes from your gigantic 90kg of a corpse in only an hour. I personally think its a clean way to go. Who wants to rot anyway

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  1. I think the reasons are rather cultural and tradition beliefs rather than Christian beliefs. There is something about the bones of my whatever lie there, if you introduce cremation, that thinking goes out of the window.

    I also think, Mr Habeenzu is a Christian and has this resurrection thing in his head ..kind of when Jesus returns thing ..and the dead will raise from their grave to be caught up in the sky…there is no.. the dead will be assembled from the ashes.. thing in the bible ..so don’t just condemn his reasoning ..it has a basis in Christianity and well thought out. I think he is wise to call for a contextual debate on the issue.

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    • In revelation it says all dead will come out, wheather from the sea, eaten by lion, lost in the bush, died through abortion or any kind of death, Eclessiatic 3:19-20.

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  2. There is always a critical period to leave the toombs of the departed to be left unlevelled, after which the places may be levelled for other developments even burrial. What I am saying here is that it depends how far back burrying started at Chingwele, the earlier palaces may be cleared for fresh burrials. We all come from the earth and after a certain period the earth claims us in totality, including bones, we become humus thus soil for futher burrials. If you are not a scientist then I know you will have problem to accept this. It may be different in Sandy soils, but in soils like the one we have around Lusaka developed on lime stone this is possible.

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    • By law, any cemetery that has clocked a hundred years can be used for anything even reburying. This is one reason why land thugs are busy clamoring for that piece of land in Lusaka’s chilenje behind former Burtlers night club now called Bankers pub or something. They all want to build houses there, and of course with boreholes sank in the same grounds right through the ‘corpses’ if they are still there anyway

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  3. Clear lack of planning you’ve been charging people all these years for those small plots in some cases there are burial sites that have been found to contain a coffin found underneath in a fresh grave…where have you been taking the monies? Even as far back as the 90s it was evident that space was not enough.

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  4. If Lusaka has run out of the burial land COMPLETELY, then cremation is the ONLY OPTION. But is COMPLETELY the right word to use, where there is still land, since burials are still taking place, and will continue even in the foreseable future? People should also encourage taking their beloved deceased to their villages where there is plenty land.

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    • My thoughts too KBM, we all have ancestral villages where burial ground still abounds! I guess it is mostly escalated costs of transferring corpses to villages that are prohibiting burial in villages. However, it is also pitiful that extended family ties that were once strong and now rapidly vanishing, makes bereavement a heavy sole burden for a homestead discouraging taking the beloved deceased to the village. Well with wind of change the dignified burial in the village metamorphosed into acceptance of city cemeteries (Memorial Parks) and sooner than later cremation will be embraced too

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  5. The solution is improved public health care, reduction of mortality and one family one child.

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  6. Please DO NOT do it!! Zambia is a Christian nation. Check in the Bible and see if there is one time when the people of God did such barbaric acts. They always buried their dead ones. Even our Lord Jesus Christ was buried in a tomb as a whole Person.

    Please get land even outside Lusaka to bury the dead. All Christians and Christian leaders must reject such nonsense. The next thing will be gay rights, then legalizing marijuana, then it will be abortion, prostitution, satanism, etc. We say NO to such acts.

    May the Lord God Almighty bless Zambia.

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    • In fact when your body is cremated or buried in the ground it goes through the same scientific process. Your organs and bones are converted to carbon. only difference in burial its a slow process while fire is instant but the result is the same; dust (carbon) to dust, ashes to ashes. Bible talks about your spiritual body / soul

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    • Read the bible, you ignorant twat. The Bible says, dust to dust, ashes to ashes, etc. There is nowhere in the Bible where cremation is banned. And even if it did, who cares? We do not have to adopt them. Those are Jewish people practices. God is supposed to be so powerful that not even cremated bodies will be stopped from resurrecting. Are we saying that christians from over 1,00 years ago will not be resurrected since their bodies are completely disintegrated by now? If you think cremation is taboo, what is the alternative? Reburying over the same cemetery plots?

      Stop using emotions to debate policy. We need reason and logic here, not gut outbursts

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  7. Even if try to reduce birt ,people wil stil Die. the point is ther is no space or land for burial.

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  8. This is a joke right? There is plenty of land in Lusaka as a district. Just find space near Chongwe or after Kafue and bury the dead respectfully there. Transport issues can be sorted out by the bereaved

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  9. In the Catholic Church crimination is not allowed. I don’t know about other churches. May be this what he meant. At the rate we are dying, if you criminate the whole Lusaka will smell like Braai

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    • Ndaje please check your spellings, it is not crimination walatusebanya! proof read your comments thoroughly before you send your otherwise valuable contribution

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  10. This was forseeable. It’s one of the things that come with a growing city.

    Since you can’t force cremation on everyone, let’s just go back to our traditional way of burial where bodies were wrapped in a reed mat (ubutanda) and placed in a cave to decompose naturally. What’s the use of a casket when most people can’t even afford one?

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  11. Culture is vital when considering an option. We have finished space in Lusaka, but have we expolored the possibilities of taking our late relatives bodies to the villages of origin. Yes the cost of transportation might increase but it is better than deforestation because of cremation. In some religions and traditions it is a taboo.

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  12. Let us make the right decision now so that we do not burden the future generation. The future generation is already overburdened by unplanned borrowings, etc. At least on this one, let us save our grand children from this burden. Whether we like it or not, cremation will at one time be the only viable alternative. Rather than waiting for that time to come, why can we not make the decision now! Or is it this “thing” that is in the black man-always failing to make right decision for himself. Then let us wait for a muzungu from Europe to direct us that we need to start cremating. Mama ine, Africa always lagging behind. But when it comes to witchcraft, Africa is always on top. Why is it so? Baddest things Africa is number 1; goodest things, Africa is # last!

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  13. The beauty of nature is that our bodies rot and we become soil/clay.

    So two or three people in one grave is possible. The Council needs to have machines that can dig deeper for the first two. It has worked out for our family. I am sure those who have gone before us do not mind sharing a grave.

    Let the Council look at the graves that are already 6 years old and above and see how these can be shared.

    The culture of Cremating human bodies is not yet very Zambian…

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    • Screw this culture nonsense. We were running around half naked just over a century ago. I don’t see anyone here refusing to wear clothes because it is unZambian. Heck, even the machine you are using to post this nonsense is unZambian and yet you are still using it, you hypocrite!

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  14. When will death be satisfied, when will it say “I have taken enough”? Why is it this greedy, take ,take, take…May death be cursed

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  15. The other alternative is to send back to the village of origin or to do as Mushota said a tomb for 3 that’s only relatives .

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  16. The solution is presented from our friends ion the south (Swaziland, Botswana, RSA and Nigeria). Maintain your links with your village. Invest in your village. Build a house, operate a farm, help the villagers. when you die get buried in the village. Only bury over the weekend.

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  17. Most of the deaths are premature improve people’s lifestyle less death more burial land.

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  18. Lcc humble your self and beg chief Mungule , chieftainess nkomeshya and other chiefs surrounding Lusaka province. Does it seem it’s only Henry Kapata who proved to be effective as PR for Lcc?

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  19. Please people, get over your superstitions and do what is practical and sensible. Cremate those corpses. You can even keep the ashes in an urn in your living room, if you like.

    Please, please, try to be reasonable. We can’t bury bodies in the ground forever.

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  20. The catholic church actually allows cremation except the ashes should be buried. The burial space for ashes can not take as much space as the regular one. Therefore, cremation could be an alternative for catholic too.

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  21. Like many other things these superstitions take a long time in Zambia to dissipate. The Catholic church lifted the prohibition on cremation in 1963, 50some years ago. But to this day many Zambian Catholics cite their faith as reason not to cremate. The fear as I understand it is, if you cremate the body it will screw up things on resurrection day or some fantastic day like that. When the big boss comes back on judgement day and tells all the corpses to wake up perhaps the ashes might not hear his command. It’s really time to get over these voodoo-like beliefs and get pragmatic.

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  22. Poor planning in Zambia! how can a province and for that matter the so-called “capital city” have 2 grave yards? I believe, every township (City as we call it in europe coz of the population exeeding 2000 people), must have a grave yard… so ba Zed, just consider your change of mentality, that every compound you permit to exist, should have a post office, atleast 1 primary, post office, local authority to address water and other related issues, 1 medical doctor even if he’s there to refer you to the District Health Post or to buy medicine for the pharmacy and above all 1 grave yard….

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  23. Poor planning in Zambia! how can a province and for that matter the so-called “capital city” have 2 grave yards? I believe, every township (City as we call it in europe coz of the population exeeding 2000 people), must have a grave yard… so ba Zed, just consider your change of mentality, that every compound you permit to exist, should have a post office, atleast 1 primary school, post office, local authority to address water and other related issues, 1 medical doctor even if s/he’s there to refer you to the District Health Post or to buy medicine from the pharmacy, and above all 1 grave yard, those are the needs to be in place before your president declares his family dwelling in the bush as a district, town or whatever he whishes to term it!

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