AS demand for housing mounts in Masvingo, some residents who bought housing stands just close to Jairosi Jiri cemetery are having sleepless nights as a "ghost" harasses them throughout the night.
To most residents of Runyararo West, darkness brings with it fear as weird movements in and outside their homes and sounds of a person doing kitchen chores, including washing plates, occupies the entire night.
Residents who spoke to our news crew said the scary incidents of the 'spirits of the dead people' who are coming back as ghosts to haunt them are troubling them. Most victims are beer drinkers who come from the pub in the wee hours of the night who have reportedly been harassed by the ghosts on their way home.
Cynthia Gwamure, a resident said: "We are now living in fear and we get scared when it gets dark. This is because we are being haunted by the spirits of the dead people we live with as our neighbours. We experience some weird and scary incidents in our houses in the evening because our houses are just 10 metres away from the cemetery."
The residents said upon hearing weird sounds within their houses they wake up but suddenly the noise disappears when they turn their lights on. Others narrated encounters when they woke up to realise that the house had been cleaned, even their dishes as well.
"I think we were given stands on top of graves and the dead are not happy with it. Some colleagues here have reported cases were they wake up to see all their dishes washed and arranged properly despite leaving them dirty at bed time," Terrence Magunda said.
The residents were contemplating selling their properties as their families do not have peace at night.
Masvingo City Council on the other hand is failing to cope with the ever increasing demand for residential stands, with reports indicating that the current housing waiting list is hovering above 20,000.
Children who lack proper recreation facilities have resorted to using the cemetery as a playing ground and are seen jumping up and down on graves during the afternoon.
The children were vandalising tomb stones while others took home flowers, buckets and various items placed on the graves.
Drug abusers especially dagga smokers have also found a perfect hiding place to smoke the illegal substance, while others take advantage of the quietness of the area to turn it into their love nests.
The lovers have turned the cemetery into a dump site for used condoms that are strewn everywhere even on top of graves.
These immoral activities are usually done in the afternoon and residents believe that they were making the dead angry hence they come to haunt them in the evening.
"Some people are now using the graveyard for immoral activities like making love and smoking marijuana. I think this is the reason why the dead are coming after us at night for revenge," said Sekai Masvuura.
Residents called on the city council to maintain the cemetery and respect the dead so that they are not provoked by the people.
"We believe council should at least try to maintain this cemetery, they collected burial fees for these people to be buried here and I don't see why they are not using that money. They should put up a fence," added another resident
Masvingo City council Mayor, Hubert Fidze professed ignorance over the issue.
"As council we have not received reports on of that nature. We are aware that houses near the cemetery but the issue of ghosts and scary tales has not come to our attention, "said Fidze.
Masvingo Residents and Rate Payers Association, (Murra) confirmed the reports.
"Some residents have approached us with complains that they were not having peaceful nights in Runyararo West area. They feel they are being disturbed by the spirits of the dead. We are trying to engage the city council to stop issuing stands near the cemetery because we believe as African people such incidents do happen," said Anoziva Muguti, Murra coordinator.