Mystery as over 100 graves violated at Warren Hills Cemetery in 3 days

By Staff Reporter

At least 100 graves in Harare’s Warren Hills Cemetery have been violated in few days amid suspicions of persons that could be performing some rituals on them.

City of Harare Chief Parks and Cemeteries Officer Godfrey Batsirai Munetsi told ZimLive this week that criminals vandalising graves were operating during the night.

He said the local authority is yet to establish the real motive behind the puzzling acts.

“No concrete leads or the motive behind the desecration of graves but we cannot rule out witchcraft because there are a lot of these that happen during the night in cemeteries.

“It could be about rituals as evidenced with a previous case at a Mbare cemetery where a mentally deranged man would destroy tombstones with crucifixes only.

“We have alerted the police and also continue to monitor because strange movements continue to happen during the night,” he said.

Theresa Nyoni, whose late father was buried at Warren Hills cemetery, told ZimLive she was disappointed to find his tombstone installed just last December having been damaged.

“This is honestly disturbing to see after having gone just four months of tombstone unveiling.

“God will punish these criminals and we are going to get to the bottom of all this,” she said.

A mentally challenged person was reported to have had a hand in the damaging of graves.

But few doubt he could have single-headedly destroyed over 83 tombstones.

Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA) president George Kandiero admitted that that witchcraft could be involved as one of the motives behind the desecration of graves at Warren Hills.

Kandiero said the phenomenon is not new to the association.

“A lot of things happen especially nowadays where people are in a rush for money and power.

“They can be ordered by sorceresses to destroy graves in order to accumulate power and wealth,” he said.

In Zimbabwe, violating graves or corpses is criminalised under sections 110 and 111 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23].

In April 2022, thieves stole thousands of memorial plaques from Warren Hills Cemetery in two months.

Officials of the Harare City Council overseeing the cemeteries said they suspected that the thieves were selling the expensive brass plaques to scrap metal dealers who, in turn, use the brass to make various jewellery items such as rings and bracelets.

Some residents speculated that local tombstone sculptors could be behind the desecrations in order to push more clients at their workshops.

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