The Mzuzu City Council has asked the High Court to stop the Mzuzu Asian community from burying their relatives on plot number A4/1/47.
In a miscellaneous civil case number 21 of 2012 between the council and Mrs Asema Jabi and Lwana Investment as first and second defendants, respectively, the council argues that the plot is for institutional use.
According to an affidavit filed by Victor Masina, Mzuzu City Council director of administration, a member of the community was on July15 2012 buried on plot A4/1/47 which belongs to Jabi.
Jabi bought the land from Lwana Investment who were given the land for institutional purposes in 2006.
Said Masina: “Approval was made in 2006 and the second defendant [Lwana Investment] submitted plans for a school which were approved in 2008. The area was for institutional use,” said Masina.
He also said under the Public Health Act, the city is mandated to establish a public cemetery. One such place was established in Zolozolo, according to Masina.
The director of administration said the Local Government Act 42 of 1998 bars any person from establishing a private cemetery on non-designated land for burial without seeking permission from the chief executive officer at the council.
In her defence, Jabi said she donated part of her plot (0.40 hectare) to the Muslim community to be used as a graveyard. This was supported by a letter she wrote to the city under Mzuzu Muslim Minority Community.
“I have donated part of the land, 0.40 of a hectare, towards my religion, to my community of Muslims so it can be used for burial purposes as our friends from the bishop are doing. [All Mzuzu Diocese Catholic priests are buried at bishopâ€™s area],” wrote Jabi.
In her affidavit, she argued that the Zolozolo graveyard lack security, is isolated and its terrain is sloppy which is not ideal for â€˜our religion as we do not use coffins and the graves are not dug deep.â€™