Ssebirumbi noted that the smell from the bodies attracts dogs’ animals during the night that dig up the half-buried bodies for consumption.
KAYUNGA - Residents of Ntenjeru village near Kayunga town council cemetery have expressed concern over the half-buried dead bodies in the burial grounds, which cause a foul smell due to the decomposing human remains.
The town council cemetery sits on half an acre along Kayunga-Bbaale road and is surrounded by residential houses. The district headquarters are also a stone's throw away from the cemetery.
Jane Ssebirumbi, a mother of three, whose home is located about 30 metres away from the graveyard, told New Vision that the practice of burying bodies in shallow graves has left residents who stay near the cemetery in fear, coupled with a smell from the decomposing corpses that covers almost the whole village after two or three days.
"The cemetery attendants dig graves of about two-three feet, where they bury unclaimed bodies. But because the graves are not deep enough some parts remain on the surface, producing a bad smell," she said.
Ssebirumbi noted that the smell from the bodies attracts dogs' animals during the night that dig up the half-buried bodies for consumption.
"When dogs exhume the graves, the smell gets worse because they normally leave some human remains on the surface," Ssebirumbi said.
CHILDREN IN FEAR
She explained at times children who play around the cemetery come across dead bodies, which scares them.
"This is not a good experience for the children because they become psychologically tortured and during the night, they keep dreaming about what they saw during the day," she narrated, revealing that the cemetery has also run out of space to the extent that new graves are dug where they buried people some time back.
"The cemetery is full and what surprises us is that we keep seeing new bodies buried being taken there," she said.
DEAD BODIES STOLEN
Ssebirumbi also revealed that unknown people exhume the remains at the cemetery. "Last year, one of the Chinese workers at Isimba Hydropower plant lost a child and the body was buried at the cemetery, but when they came back to take the remains back to China early this year, the body was not found in the grave where it was buried," Ssebirumbi explained.
Another resident, Ruth Nalukenge, appealed to the town council authorities to look for land far from residential areas that would be turned into a cemetery to save the residents from the trauma.
"The town council should plan ahead and look for another land suitable for a graveyard because people have built permanent structures around the current cemetery, whose plans are approved by the council authorities," Nalukenge said.
The area LC1 chairperson, Bosco Were, blamed the town council authorities over poor supervision of the graveyard attendants.
"I asked the town council officials to regularly supervise activities at the cemetery, especially during burials. This will prevent avoidable mistakes done by graveyard attendants so that residents can enjoy their stay in the area," Were said.
WHAT THE CLERK SAYS
When contacted, Nansubuga said she was not ready to give an official statement regarding the cemetery. "I have nothing to say about the cemetery at the moment, but I will come up with an official statement and I will let you know," Nansubuga told New Vision.
Meanwhile, an official at the town council, who preferred anonymity, revealed that they had suggested to facilitate the cemetery attendants to dig graves in advance before burial of any unclaimed dead body.
"We thought of facilitating the attendants to dig deep graves in advance, when they have enough time, such that when there is need to bury a body they are not under pressure," the source said.
However, the source said the proposal had not been implemented. The Bugerere county chief, James Ssempiga, said the cemetery is located on Buganda Kingdom land and advised the town council to use the right procedures and request for land for the new cemetery, through the Buganda Land Board. "The kingdom has a lot of land.
It is possible for the town council to get other burial grounds if they apply to the Buganda Land Board," Ssempiga said.
According to Ssempiga, the cemetery has been in existence since the early 1980s, when Kayunga was elevated to a town board status.
MAYOR SPEAKS OUT
The town council mayor, Majid Nyanzi, said a number of things were not done in the right way as a result of weak technical staff, whom he said have rendered a disservice to the residents.
"I am not aware of what goes on at the burial grounds but if the community around there is complaining, it is not a surprise, because some of the technical staff at the town council either do not want to work or they do not know why they were recruited to their respective offices, yet I have no authority over them," Nyanzi said.
He added that he has, on several occasions, informed the office of the Chief Administrative Officer about the poor performing staff members at the town council but no action had been taken.
"If the town council graveyard is filled up and the burying of dead bodies not done in a descent way, it means the technical staff do not do the supervisory work.
Unfortunately, authorities remain adamant when you complain about employees," Nyanzi said, pinning the town clerk, Margaret Nansubuga, for all the mess at the town council.