By Correspondent

Masvingo residents have turned the city’s pioneering cemetery into a dumping site as Council continues struggling with refuse management.

Jairos Jiri cemetery, located in the vicinity of Runyararo West high density suburb, is the final resting place of pioneering black residents in the then Fort Victoria, but now resembles a garbage site.

Prominent black Masvingo educationsists, the Masilo couple, Elizabeth and Joseph, as well as pioneering business personalities such as Zawaira and Mundodo were laid to rest there.

Many liberation war heroes, some whose names have been used for Mucheke streets, also have their remains interred at the cemetery.

Jairos Jiri was decommissioned over three decades ago after it became full.

Since then the cemetery is yet to be fenced and the local authority has not committed itself towards maintainance of this historical burial site.

Tall grass, uncut bushes and garbage now characterize the pioneering cemetery.

For a loved one to be buried within Masvingo City Council cemeteries, the local authority charges a minimum burial fee of US$10 and pledges to commit permanent caretakers who maintain the cemetery.

But for Jairos Jiri it’s not the case as it has been turned into an eyesore for the community with most residents now failing to locate the final resting place of their loved ones.

Meanwhile, residents of the nearby Runyararo West have found a place to dump their uncollected refuse.

Missing Graves

“We wanted to conduct a traditional ceremony on our father’s grave but we could not locate his grave because the cemetery now resembles a dumping site.

“We had to visit the council offices for assistance but it took us five days to get assistance as the assigned caretaker could also not navigate the jungle,” said Darlington Masilo.

Masvingo city council officials acknowledged their failure to maintain the cemetery with Rockford Kamuzonda the councillor for ward 3 saying he had to put the issue on council agenda after noticing the situation at the cemetery.

“When I was elected into office during a by-election this year these were some of main issues I had to bring to council.

“I am happy that the issue was taken seriously, we have committed ourself to erect a precast wall around the cemetery and budget consultations for the project are underway,” Kamuzonda said.

Masvingo is battling to meet its refuse collection schedules owing to a dilapidated refuse fleet, with one refuse truck serving the city’s ten wards.

This has resulted in the wards having their refuse collected twice a month.

However, Runyararo West residents have simply chosen I use the grave site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *