Anglican dispute spills to cemetery


The Anglican Church dispute over control of church property pitting Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and Bishop Chad Gandiwa Sunday degenerated to unprecedented depths after the burial of a United Anglican Church priest was abruptly blocked by the rival Kunonga camp.

Edward Rinashe, a long-time member of the church, was due to be buried at St Mary’s Cemetery in Chitungwiza but this was stopped by members believed to belong to a faction aligned to Kunonga.

The late Rinashe was reportedly sympathetic to Gandiwa’s cause. He died on Friday. He was in his 70s. Relatives said the burial was blocked because the cemetery is part of the property at the centre of dispute.

Last night (Sunday), relatives of the deceased said they were making fresh burial arrangements and would probably lay Rinashe to rest at Warren Hills Cemetery today (Monday).

The body was taken back to a funeral parlour for overnight storage.

“When we were about to go and bury him at a cemetery reserved for senior United Anglican Church members we were blocked by people that told us they had instructions from Bishop Kunonga to bar us,” said a relative. Strenuous efforts to contact Kunonga last night were fruitless.

NewsDay contacted Kunonga’s son Ngoni, but he was not cooperative.