Arusha — THE Kaloleni graveyards in Arusha underwent major grass cutting and cleaning exercise led by the City Mayor, Gaudence Lyimo, at the end of last week, where it was promised that, the council intends to erect a fence around the resting place.
The cemetery, currently serving as an important memorial plot for beloved ones, is located at the backyard of Kaloleni Hospital, but currently not functioning after city fathers closed it seven years ago, after the burial ground had been exhausted leading to people being buried on old graves.
"The problem with authorities here is that once a cemetery like this gets closed, it is forgotten and unless fenced, people will convert it into garbage dumpsite and dogs exhume shallow buried human bodies," pointed out Mr Ahmad Mansoor who lives nearby.
The main health centre serving the entire Arusha Region is the Mount Meru Hospital which has an inbuilt mortuary, but the official medical centre for Arusha City is the Kaloleni Hospital which went further in having a fully-fledged cemetery next to it.
Late last week, municipal officials, led by Mayor Lyimo went round the Kaloleni burial grounds and launched special exercise to clean the cemetery after admittedly neglecting the burial grounds ever since the council closed it.
The Kaloleni Cemetery was officially closed in 2007 after the councillors who were meeting at the City Hall declared that the burial grounds were full, ordering the residents of Arusha to start taking dead persons for burial in the newly established city cemetery located some 15 kilometres from town at a place known as Njiro Kwa-Msola.
The council, however, is still not forthcoming regarding when exactly the proposed plans to fence the entire cemetery will be executed. This was viewed as a bid to protect the important area from recent cases of criminals who have been using the grounds as their hideouts.
Like many Tanzanians, Arusha residents are scared of burial grounds and local racketeers have been using this fear to steal, rob and snatch valuable items from passers-by, especially pedestrians walking along the old Makongoro Road, and then run to hide into the Kaloleni Cemetery into where people get scared to venture, especially when the crime against them has been committed at night.