Over 40 graves are set for exhumation from an old cemetery in Glen Norah B to pave way for the construction of houses by private property developers.
The exhumed bodies will be reburied at Granville Cemetery with consultations amongst stakeholders, who include the families of the deceased now at an advanced stage.
A local company, Kuriya Funeral Service, has been engaged to oversee the exhumations and reburials which will be carried out once all legal processes are completed.
The graves are situated near a Rastafarian worshipping site known as “Chikomo chemaRasta” on what used to be Bacasta Farm in the 1960s.
Kuriya Funeral Service director Mr Daniso Paradza said most of the graves were of former farm workers while there were suspicions of illegal burials years ago.
“We are starting with the legal notices which will be published in the media and the Government Gazette as per the requirements of the law.
“We have been in touch with many families and would want to alert those who may not have heard about the programme. We have also consulted Chief Zvimba under whose traditional jurisdiction the area falls because there are rites and rituals that need to be performed,” said Mr Paradza.
He said the company had performed similar tasks over the years in Borrowdale, Budiriro, Nyabira, Heyhill Farm and Southlea Park among other areas.
They had also conducted an exhumation in Ruwa after being engaged by a family trust.
“For our exhumations in the northern part of the city, we consulted Chief Chikwaka and things went on smoothly. We are following the same process with Chief Zvimba because it is important to follow our traditions,” said Mr Paradza.
Locals in the area hailed the move saying the graves were too close to their houses.
“It is a good idea for the graves to be relocated. This will free up space for more houses to be constructed and we hope everything will be finalised soon,” said Mrs Idah Mangwende.
Mr Titus Chadya said: “The graves should be moved because they are too close to a residential area. I know some families may be reluctant to move the graves for sentimental reasons but i think moving them to Granville Cemetery is a noble idea.”
Most new residential areas in the capital are being built on what used to be farm land before the 1970s when such burials were common.