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Fight to exhume Bishop Taaso

THE government wants the body of the late Anglican Church of Lesotho Bishop Adam Taaso exhumed and reburied in the village cemetery in Tšehlanyane, Leribe. However, his family is opposing the bid.

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The local government council for Tšehlanyane has approached the Northern Region High Court in Tšifa-li-Mali seeking an order forcing the family to exhume the bishop.
The council argues that Bishop Taaso’s family cemetery in which he was buried last month is not designated and therefore burying him there was contrary to the Public Health Order of 1970.

The order says the Health Minister shall declare and notify in the Gazette proper places to be the sites of and to be used as cemeteries.
“It shall be obligatory where such cemeteries exist to bury the dead in such cemeteries,” the order says.

The Taaso family, however, argues that the family cemetery has always been considered as designated.

Advocate Taaso Taaso, the bishop’s son, told thepost last night that both the village chief and the council failed to prove to him that the cemetery where they want him to bury his father has been designated under the 1970 Order.

“As for my grandfather’s big yard, part of which has been our family graveyard, is properly a lawful graveyard,” Advocate Taaso said.

He relies on the part of the order which says “all cemeteries existing at the time this Order comes into operation and such other cemeteries as may be authorised by the Minister, notice whereof shall be published in the Gazette, shall be deemed authorised cemeteries”.

Advocate Taaso said his grandfather’s yard, the size of which is far over the football pitch, has been used as the family’s cemetery since 1963, seven years before the order.

“This is the first time that we are directed not to bury our dead there,” he said.

He also said other families have over the years been burying their loved ones in their yards but nothing has been done to stop them and they have not been ordered to exhume them.

He said this was discrimination against the Taaso family.

Advocate Taaso said it is sad that his father, who received much controversial hostility from several quarters in his life, “is being maltreated in this way even in death”.

“I don’t want to go there but this is how I see these things. I see them as an attack,” he said.

Staff Reporter

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