Muyinga : When traders live with dead

It has been over a year since a market named Ku Gongone was built in a cemetery. Traders and people who go there to bury theirs both agree on the reorganization of the place for the respect for the dead.

At the cemetery, trade continues when some bury theirs.

Cry for deceased people became “a sacrilege” at Ku Gongone. Some are disappointed by such an emotional act. Angry families prefer only one thing: going back home as fast as possible to express their grief. The cause is the presence of the market in that place. Since then, the cemetery is so noisy that the burial ceremonies are almost impossible.

Located near the provincial police station of Muyinga, at 100 meters from the Umuco stadium, the graveyard has been transformed into a market place since the past year. On market days (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday), sellers of charcoal, goats, alcoholic drinks known as Imigorigori, etc. go to the place. There are also crumbling restaurants. It’s a real shambles.

On Tuesday, June 4, at 10 a.m., the day coinciding with the end of Ramadan for Muslims, everyone rushes, heading to Ku Gongone market. In this province, where the majority of people are Muslims, everyone wants to buy the goat meat for the ceremonies. There is an absolute mess in the area.

Children playing on graves

While some people are busy buying fresh meat, children play on graves. “It is a great day. We must purchase meat to share with the family and friends.” says Hassan, aged 30. From Mwakiro area,Venant confirms that Ku Gongone charcoal is cheaper than elsewhere. “It is of good quality,” he adds.

Suddenly, it is quiet. At least twenty people have come to prepare for the funeral of theirs. Some of them with sullen faces could hardly stand. As they try to make their way, a person sipping beer in a hut says: “Rest in peace, we are the next.” It is part of our daily lives, says Hassan, a seller of charcoal. Near the grave, the noise from the market resumes.

Built to save faces

The Umuco stadium (in Muyinga), chosen among the stadiums to host the CECAFA championship under seventeen, must respect the norms of the African Football Federation (CAF). At this time, all traders of charcoal, cassava undertaking activities behind the same stadium were forced to leave the place to facilitate the access to all the doors of the stadium. “Communal authorities told us to leave for another place.” says Uwitonze, seller of Umugorigori drink. Finally, they were moved towards the cemetery.

Goats sometimes go to the funerals

According to the local administration, the relocation was only for few days, but will soon turn two years. The traders say they would prefer to work in a different place. “You know death is sacred. Since there is no any other alternative, we are obliged to stay there.”

Ramazani, a young teacher, though doubtful about the will of the administration, suggests: “If the administration does not have a place where it will send them, it should build a fence separating the cemetery from the market.” And those who bury theirs should do so in total intimacy, he adds.

“This issue will not last longer” says Laurent Kayumba, a communal advisor in charge of development. He announced that the market will be moved to Mukoni in the next few days adding that “what remains to be done is that the company in charge of supplying water and electricity-REGIDESO provides electricity in the locality.”