From The Zimbabwe Standard
BISHOP of the Anglican Church’s Harare Diocese, Sebastian Bakare says rogue police officers have frustrated all efforts by his group to seek a resolution of the church’s power struggles through legal means by siding with his rival, Nolbert Kunonga.
Bakare said as a result they were now waiting for “divine intervention” as Kunonga’s well-publicised connections with the ruling Zanu PF emboldened his faction to act with impunity.
“We have exhausted all channels,” he said in a recent interview. “We will only fight through God as he knows what’s best for His church and He is the one who can correctly distinguish between good and evil.”
Bakare’s comments were in response to a recent incident where David Kunyongana, a priest from the Kunonga faction was involved in a nasty encounter with members of the new bishop’s group at St Joseph’s Dzivarasekwa parish over sharing the church building.
After the altercation it is alleged that Kunyongana called another priest, who came and drove his vehicle straight at some youths standing at the gate of the parish apparently in an effort to disperse them.
This provoked the youths and onlookers who started throwing missiles at the car and a police intervention led to the arrest of a number of them, including church wardens.
Members of the Kunonga faction had allegedly called the police.
Police officers are still reportedly preventing Bakare’s group from using church property despite a High Court order granting access to both groups.
The Anglican Church split last year after Kunonga attempted to unilaterally withdraw the Harare Diocese from the church’s Province of South Africa allegedly in protest at the tolerance of homosexuality by the mainstream church.
The two groups have been engaged in unending fights since then.
Bakare said efficient justice delivery on the dispute had been compromised by Kunonga’s attempts to use his political influence and alleged links to Zanu PF to try and gain control of the church.
He said some police officers were “conniving” with Kunonga’s faction to disrupt his group from conducting church services in various parishes around Harare.
“They are conniving with some rogue members of the police force and working in unison to violate the High Court judgement,” Bakare said, “and we are not going to fight them, prayer is the only solution.”
The police officers, according to Bakare, claim to be acting on instructions from the President’s Office in their bid to intimidate his group.
But he dismissed them “as some rogue members of society who wanted to exercise power that they do not have in the name of the president.”
According to Bakare the major problem emanated from “the politicisation of a clearly ecclesiastical issue.”
Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena denied allegations police officers were interfering in Anglican issues.
“They have got their cases at court and we do not see any reason why they should involve the police,” Bvudzijena said.
“Our position in the dispute is not an issue. “After all, we do not favour anyone.”
Kunonga was not available for comment.
But Kunyongana said: “Those claims are not true, they do not want to follow the High Court ruling that we should revert to our previous status quo.”