Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Reporter
Suspected land barons parcelled out residential stands in a graveyard in Epworth with the beneficiaries having recently exchanged blows with council officials, blocking the burial of a local resident.
The Herald established that violent clashes ensued between those illegally settled at the graveyard and a bereaved family that was burying its loved one a few days ago.
The local authority’s town secretary Dr Wilton Mhanda confirmed the clashes.
“There are squatters that clashed with council officials refusing them to allocate and dig graves at the site, but we have since engaged them and they are now cooperating,” he said.
Past MDC-Alliance Epworth Mayor Batanai Masunda said the graveyard settlers turned violent last weekend when some residents went to bury their late relative who died from Covid-19-related complications.
“The illegal settlers were accusing the Epworth Local Board of pegging graves on their land when in fact they were allocated those stands by land barons.
“People were chased and stoned with bricks and sustained injuries and had to postpone the burial. The body had to be taken back to the funeral parlour. The deceased is an elderly woman from Ward 6,” he said.