Security increased as church founder Safina Lung'atso is buried

Monday April 22 2019

Safina Lung'atso

African Israel Nineveh Church followers during the burial of the church's founder Safina Lung'atso on April 21, 2019. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DERRICK LUVEGA
By DERRICK LUVEGA
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African Israel Nineveh Church has witnessed many wrangles which have even led to the death of a number of faithful.

Safina Lung'atso, 79, saw the church she served as chief priest go through the rough terrain of leadership wrangles even to her death late last month.

She was buried on Sunday amid tension coupled with heavy police presence at the church headquarters at Jebrok in Vihiga County for fear that chaos could erupt.

She wanted Bishop Evans Chadiva, an “outsider”, to take over the leadership of the church from his son, archbishop John Mweresa, leading to years of bad blood.

So much has the wrangling been that she even witnessed the sad state in 2015 when fighting broke at the family compound at Jebrok leading to the death of three clerics and multiple injuries.

At the time, a house, a saloon car and three motorbikes belonging to her son -archbishop Mweresa - were torched.

Before this, there had been a series of the church members throwing stones at each other in fight for new leadership.

Police in uniform and civilian patrolled the area to avert any trouble during her burial, a confirmation that the wrangling that has characterised the church she led followed her into death.

Archbishop Mweresa, who did not attend the burial service, wanted his mother buried outside the family land that houses the church's headquarters. He moved to Hamisi Magistrates court but lost the case after his brothers convinced the court otherwise.

The court, on Thursday, ruled against the archbishop's wish and paved the way for her burial at the family land at Jebrok.