Prayers in peace

From The Herald, via All Africa news,

Harare — The two Anglican factions fighting for control of the church's properties on Sunday gave each other chances to worship.

Worshippers from Bishops Nolbert Kunonga and Sebastian Bakare's factions shared timeslots for services on Sunday.

Since May last year when the Kunonga faction appealed to the Supreme Court against a High Court order compelling the factions to share church premises, the Bakare faction had not been allowed to worship in Anglican church premises.

Police on Sunday reportedly explained to the church leaders that they had instructions to ensure the factions gave each other a chance to worship.

The Herald caught up with Bishop Bakare at St Paul's parish in Highfield and he confirmed receipt of the instruction from higher offices to share the church building adding that the Kunonga faction would be the first to conduct its services before making way for his faction.

Bishop Bakare hailed the latest development saying it had brought back sanity and peace to the parishes throughout the city.

"Today we are happy that we have been allowed to use our buildings.

"I believe this has happened to all our churches. So far we have received confirmation from leaders at the Cathedral and St Andrews in Glen View that they had worshipped peacefully," he said.

Efforts to contact Bishop Kunonga were fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable.

But Reverend Teddy Mukariri of St Phillips Parish in Tafara, who is aligned to the Kunonga faction confirmed receiving communication from the police although he was not shown the actual document.

"The police came to us later, well after we had conducted our service and locked up the doors as usual.

"They informed us that there were papers allowing the other member (faction) to use the church.

"If we see the papers, we will just comply with the instruction.

"We only do what is in line with the law.

"What we know is that we appealed to the Supreme Court against the Makarau judgment and it was accepted, but I am surprised to learn that we are to revert to that earlier ruling," said Rev Mukariri.

The development came after Co-Home Affairs Ministers Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa summoned Bishops Bakare and Kunonga over the long-running feud between the two factions.

The Bishops presented their cases and the matter was referred to Attorney General Johannes Tomana for proper interpretation of the rulings and appeals.

At St Andrews parish in Glen View, the Bishop Bakare faction members marched around the church carrying the cross in jubilation as they had been accorded a chance to use the building for the first time in 11 months.

The rivals have clashed several times at Harare parishes following Bishop Kunonga's withdrawal from the Church of the Province of Central Africa to form the Province of Zimbabwe on January 12 last year, citing the former's alleged tolerance of homosexuality.

The Province then deemed him as having left the Anglican Church and appointed Bishop Bakare, a retired cleric, to head the Harare Diocese in his place.


Well, I shouldn't have been so cynical. This is no long term solution but if it enables people to worship without the threat and fact of violence then it must be welcomed.

And if the law of the courts, rather than the law of Zanu-PF is to return, then we can all applaud as well.

It's just a straw in the wind, but there is a sense with Zimbabwe that any hint for the better is to be grabbed eagerly and seen as an omen for a brighter future - just as the continuing bad news is grabbed as an omen for continued unrelenting depression. I guess that on the ground most people are just managing as best they can in the mess they've been landed in.

But now, as long as this detente continues, the prayers of the people may be spoken in peace.

1 comment:

  1. Straws in the wind perhaps but there are a few tantalising signs of change in Zimbabwe now that the new 'power-sharing' is bedding in.

    That's a nice picture of the cathedral by the way.