Govt now raises alarm over use of cemetery land

Monday June 15 2020


Most families build strong graves that last longer than required 10 years to pave the way for reuse. Photo ~ Cyril Ndegeya  

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The government has raised concerns over non adherence to the law that requires reuse of cemetery land after 10 or 20 years.

According the law that was passed in 2013, tombs can be destroyed after 10 or 20 years to pave the way for reuse to help the government deal with demand for burial sites.

In most cemeteries, the dead are accorded good looking tombs that can last longer than the time the law stipulates.

“The law is clear that some cemeteries will be reused every 10 years while others every 20 years and when that time comes, those tombs will be destroyed however magnifi cent they may be” Ignatienne

Nyirarukundo the State Minister for Ministry of Land told Rwanda Today on Tuesday.

The law that was enacted in 2013 is in addition to law on cremation that was published in 2012 to ensure utilization of land designated for the dead.


“It’s of great concern that many people have no sense of land being consumed by cemeteries. Currently, there would be people trying cremation or the traditional burial that doesn’t involve all that cement, concrete and tiles” Jean Baptist Kayiranga the Legal Advisor at Ministry of Land told Rwanda Today.

At Rusoro, Kigali City cemetery, the 12 hectares which had been initially planned to be used up to 2029 is already full and another chunk of five hectares has been secured to start to be used next year.

If 12 hectares that were secured in 2013 are finished this year after seven years, the five-hectare new chunk of land will be used up to 2024 maximum.

Rusororo Cemetery can be reused after 20 years which means that the cemetery will need more land for burial until 2040 when the first chunk of the twelve hectares will have made 20 years without use.

“I have toured some countries to see how they handle the problem of cemetery space and I’m compiling a study to hand to policy makers, including having a two in one grave. it’s just a suggestion and I don’t know if it will be accepted” Anselme Nkusi the Managing Director of Rusororo Cemetery said.

The same cemetery space challenge is being felt by small towns such as Ngoma in Eastern Province.