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Anglican, community fight over graveyard

14 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
Anglican, community fight over graveyard Villagers around St Faith’s High School were allegedly barred from accessing a community graveyard located within the church premises

The ManicaPost

 

Lovemore Kadzura
Rusape Correspondent

THE Anglican Diocese of Manicaland was last week dragged to Chief Makoni’s court for allegedly barring villagers around St Faith’s High School from accessing a community graveyard located within its premises.

This comes after the villagers, who have been vehemently opposing the planned privatisation of the school, have been taken to court by the church.

The latter was granted a piece order which bars the former from accessing the mission compound.

In recent developments, Mutasa village head Mr Maibvisira Muzanenhamo told Chief Makoni’s court that the Anglican Church’s actions had left the community without an alternative community graveyard.

He said they were also being barred from performing their traditional rituals at the community graveyard.

Mr Muzanenhamo argued that this was unfair considering that the mission was established on community land.

“We are before your court to inform you of the unpleasant activities happening in the village. The Anglican Church wants to grab our institution. St Faith’s Mission was set up on community land.

“Our grandparents released their land in good faith to the missionaries, but we are now surprised that these people who are ignorant of the historical background of the area are now claiming ownership of a purely community project.

“The community, local authority, Government, donors, parents, former students and the church all contributed towards the construction of the mission, and therefore the church cannot elbow out other stakeholders. The church converted our community centres and halls into dormitories. Being a responsible authority does not mean becoming private owners.

“There is no longer peace in the community as the church wants to cheat us. As we speak right now, the church has barred some villagers from accessing the graveyard.

‘‘When villagers die, where do we bury them?” fumed Mr Muzanenhamo who was accompanied by several villagers.
Anglican Bishop Eric Ruwona did not attend the court session.
However, priest-in-charge and principal Reverend Daniso Muchichwa told the court that the church had not barred the villagers from accessing the graveyard.

“It is not correct that villagers are being barred from accessing the graveyard. It is only the violent villagers who were barred by the courts from interfering with the mission’s operations.

“As we speak I am not staying at the mission. There was a funeral recently and they buried the deceased at the cemetery. The villagers actually chased away a pastor who had been seconded to represent me at the burial,” said Rev Muchichwa.

Sometime in November last year, irate members of the community picketed at the school following ill-fated attempts by the church to remove the school headmaster and his deputy from the school.

They then chased away Rev Muchichwa from the school.
Since then, the Reverend has been staying at a lodge in Rusape.

Chief Makoni said he was keenly following developments at St Faith’s Mission and will add his voice once the legal battles are over.

He urged villagers to abide by the court order barring them from entering the mission.

He said if there is a funeral, the barred villagers should inform him so that he could issue out letters authorising them to access the graveyard.

 

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