Night burial jolts residents

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LILLIAN CHIKANDI writes

RESIDENTS of Chirundu District were on Tuesday night shocked when they found a family, from Ingombe illede Ward, in Chief Chipepo’s area, burying the corpse of a 67 year old man in the night.

The family was found burying the corpse of Shadreck Siamupepe, who died after drinking poison, at the Manda Hill traditional graveyard, in Katsoko village of Chief Sikoongo’s area, around 20:30 hours.

But a family member who did not want named, said that they decided to bury the corpse at night because they feared it would go bad after they were denied a burial permit by Chief Chipepo.

The family member told The Sun that the body of the deceased, who is survived by a wife and four children, had been kept in the Apostolic Church at Ingombe Illede for about five hours while they tried to negotiate for a burial permit.

The family member said Chief Chipepo denied them a burial permit for his area because the deceased is from Chikankata and his name does not appear in the village register.

The family member said that, as per procedure, they therefore proceeded to seek permission from the police and the district administrative offices but did not inform them that they would burry at night.

By the time the press team and the police arrived at the scene, they found the Siamupepe family and some church members saying their closing prayer.

But Chirundu town council secretary, Mr. John Mwanza, and police, have advised the Siamupepe family to have considered seeking permission from Chief Sikoongo’s council and headman Mooya, of Katsoko village, to bury at night.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Sikoongo headmen council, Peter Choonga, has expressed displeasure about how the whole incident was handled.

Mr. Choonga said that the headmen council was completely kept in the dark about the incident while headman katsoko is admitted at Mtendere mission hospital following an illness.

Headman Choonga said he summoned the Siamupepe family to discuss the matter and that it has partially been resolved because their decision and reason to burry in Sikoongo chiefdom has been understood.

He said Chief Sikoongo will be requested to undertake cleansing rituals because tradition does not allow for burying at night.

And Chief Chipepo, when queried about the matter, explained that he refused for the late Shadreck Siamupepe to be buried in his chiefdom because he was not registered in the chiefdom register as is required of anyone who settled in the area from another place.

The chief observed that, according to Village Development Act, Mr. Siamupepe was supposed to produce a transfer letter from Chikankata to his chiefdom in order to be registered.

He said it was the third incident recorded in his chiefdom whereby persons not registered in the chiefdom had committed suicide.

The chief explained that it is not right to bury a person in a foreign land because when a person dies, there are lots of issues and rituals that needed to be performed by the family.

He wondered why the Siamupepe family decided to burry at night when they had notified him about the death in the morning.

He advised people settling in his chiefdom to secure transfer letters from their places of origin in order to be registered in his chiefdom and avoid complications.

Chirundu town has had no gazetted graveyard but only uses two traditional burial grounds, namely Mandenga where only the Goba (gova) speaking people are buried and Manda Hill for people who move from other towns and settle in Chirundu District.

The deceased man has been identified as Shadreck Siamupepe believed to have committed suicide by drinking poison and

The reason he committed suicide is unknown.

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