ANGLICAN-INFORMATION has received the article published below from Philip Chidembo putting the case for the Nolbert Kunonga faction in the Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe. It reveals a heady mix of political interest, disputed court rulings and accusations of ‘homosexual’ support on the part of the Bishops of the Central African Province. In the interests of balance and openness we believe we should publish it.
North American conflicts imported into Africa?
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION prefaces the article by stating that our collective views are that:
- The Rt Rev’d Chad Gandiya of the Church of the Central African Province is the legitimate Bishop of Harare
- Evidence points both circumstantially and in practice to a regime of terror and intimidation against the priests and people of Dr Gandiya’s diocese carried out at the behest of ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga with the support of the police and Robert Mugabe factions of the Zimbabwe government
- Court decisions instructing the sharing of church buildings remain valid
- The the accusation of ‘homosexual support’ by the bishops of the Central African Province is untrue and an attempt to discredit them and mask what is a power struggle between the interests of Kunonga and the Province of Central Africa
- This is an example of how the conflicts between North American Anglicans have been successfully and divisively exported into a socially conservative Africa
- Accusations of homosexuality are now regularly used to defame the character and good standing of individuals and churches in an arbitrary and inquisitorial style for political ends
- Perversely, the same technique now being used against them by Nolbert Kunonga was also used by Provincial bishops, under the oversight of the then Archbishop of Central Africa Bernard Malango, in an attempt to discredit the candidacy of the English, London based, Rev’d Dr. Nicholas Henderson as the elected Bishop of Lake Malawi
Article from: Philip Chidembo (the items reproduced in bold are as in the original article)
May you please publicise this article on your website. It is good for people to see what’s on the other side.
ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF HARARE
PRESS STATEMENT: LEGAL ISSUES/HOMOSEXUALITY
We as the Diocese of Harare under the leadership of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga write to correct the information being given to the public by the Honourable Minister Mutsekwa in regards to the Anglican Church (the Church of the Province of Central Africa versus the Diocese of Harare) dispute. The Minister has misled the public and nation at large by the statements lie is making, which are misleading, misinforming and false. The dispute in the Anglican Church is not about politics or politicians, ZANU PF, MDC-T or MDC-M or government as a whole. It is purely a theological, doctrinal and a faith issue. The Church of the Province of Central Africa (C.P.C.A.) and the Diocese of Harare are divided because of difference in opinion on homosexuality.
The Honourable Minister has deliberately taken it upon himself to grossly misinform and mislead the public on judiciary facts in regard to this issue. There seems to be confusion in the Minister's mind, as he cannot separate political issues and theological issues.
The issue of homosexuality has ruptured the Anglican communion world wide and the Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted that the Church be run on a two structure system those who support homosexuality and those who are opposed to it. The Minister has illustrated that he lacks information in regard to developments within the Anglican Church.
He needs to be educated correctly so that lie does not react emotionally to issues outside his jurisdiction. It is very important for a public figure like Honourable Minister Mutsekwa to verify relevant information before rushing to conclusions of giving wrong directions. It also seems the Minister has his own personal vendetta against Bishop Kunonga. This is so because how on earth can he ignore several current orders from the courts and stick to the Makarau judgement, which is outdated and have been overtaken by other High Court Orders.
The behaviour of the Minister is saddening and we feel the Minister needs urgent counselling and healing for him to be able to see the truth. We hope the Government has suitable facilities for rehabilitation in such issues.
The Honourable Minister has chosen to grossly misinform and mislead the public and the whole country by speaking without verifying facts and evidence of court proceedings within the Anglican dispute. The Church of the Province of Central Africa (C.P.C.A.) is the one who took the Diocese of Harare to court and should abide by court rulings if they want to speak of the rule of law.
We are left to wonder whether it is an academic background problem or an intellectual problem within his mind, which fails to separate ministerial directives and judiciary rulings.
No one is being banished from worshipping but those who support homosexuals or indulge in this act are not welcome. Those who preach politics and denounce their own government are also not welcome as the Church is purely for worshipping without reservations.
For the record we would like to advise the Minister that the Makarau judgement he speaks volumes of, was suspended long back on 7 April 2008 and we find no reason why the minister is reviving it now. According to court records and the Attorney General's Office, the Makarau Judgement was suspended. We do not think the minister is now a member of the Judiciary bench and has ruled otherwise.
The Minister should not drag the Government politics and politicians into a church dispute. There have been many other denominations in dispute, but we have never heard of any Minister who has intervened. This clearly shows that Honourable Minister Mutsekwa is an interested party in this matter.
For the record we do hereby list all court proceeds as from January 2008 to date for public consumption.
1. On the 19th of January 2008, Judge President Rita Makarau gave a provisional order in case number HC 345/08, which gave both factions time sharing within the Church. We responded and made our condo nation Application on 19 March 2008, which was heard by Chief Justice Chidyausiku, in which he granted the issuance of the appeal out of time. Case number SC 17/2008.
On the 7th of April 2008, we appealed against J.P. Makarau's judgement - case number 72/2008, and our appeal was noted, automatically suspending J.P. Makarau's Provisional Order. Letter of undertaking was then sent to the High Court on 5 May 2008 as per court rules.
2. On 2 May 2008, Justice Guvava sitting in court upheld J.P. Makarau's order - case number HC 2259/08.
We subsequently appealed on 3 May 2008, case number SC 83/08. Again our notice of appeal was noted, thereby suspending J.P. Makarau's order to share churches.
3. On 3 April 2009, the Co-Ministers summoned us to the Home Affairs Ministry. Our letter of undertaking top ay costs had disappeared in the High Court under fraudulent circumstances. The Co-Ministers directed that we should revert back to J.P. Makarau's order until we give them proof that we actually appealed and undertook to pay costs.
We had copies of all the required papers but when we approached the Co-Ministers, they turned a deaf ear on us. We wrote manycorrespondents but to date they have never entertained us. To add salt to injury, the A.G.'s office even wrote a memo to the Co-Ministers on 23 April 2009 advising them that indeed there was an appeal and J.P. Makarau's judgement had been suspended but the Honourable Co-Ministers were adamant the churches should be shared and no one was going to change that.
4. On 24 July 2009, we went to Court case number HC 4327/08 same as case number HC 6544/07 for the courts to decide who was in control of the churches property. Justice Hlastwayo gave an order that Bishop Kunonga and his Board of Trustees were the custodians of the Diocesan Property movable or immovable. He also gave an interdict that no other Bishop is to be consecrated in the Diocese of Harare case number HC 2792/08.
The Gandiya Faction obtained a fraudulent notice of appeal, so as to go ahead and consecrate Gandiya.
On 26 August 2009, we made an Urgent Chamber Application to investigate on the merit of the purported Notice of Appeal - case number HC 3391/09. Justice Bhunu heard this matter on the 24th of September 2009 and we are still waiting judgement.
5. We made an application to the Supreme Court case number SC 180/09 for non-payment of costs by the Gandiya faction. Deputy Chief Justice Malaba heard this matter on the 4th of November 2009 and we are still waiting for judgement.
6. On 14 December 2009, the Gandiya faction approached the High Court, without our knowledge as an interested party in this matter and obtained a provisional order by consent by all parties being the police, Co-Ministers and Church of the Province of Central Africa Faction represented by Gandiya to revive J.P. Makarau's order and bar the police from doing their Constitutional mandate of maintaining law and order. They wanted chaos to prevail there by tarnishing the image of the government - case number HC 6281/09 under Justice Karwi.
7. On 19 December 2009, we approached the High Court to redress the anomaly caused by the Provisional order by consent granted by Justice Karwi - Case number HC 6451/09. Justice Hlatswayo granted a provisional order by consent from all parties involved being the police, Co-Ministers, the C. P. C. A. faction and the Diocese of Harare represented by Bishop Kunonga. This order suspended the Justice Karwi order 6281/07. Thus, all orders by the C. P. C. A. Faction have been suspended, legally, we are back to status quo - where there is one Bishop, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, once service, by clergy, and laity loyal to him, one Diocese under his authority.
This being the case we saw it fit to highlight our plight as wolves are roaming around to devour us regardless of our legitimate legal position and standing.
Conclusion: Points in limine. The dispute in the Anglican Church is about homosexuality. The C. P. C. A. bishops openly support homosexuality and we will never share the same premises and place of worship. Homosexuality is an abomination as the Scriptures are against such practices. Morally, culturally and spiritually homosexuality is not permissible.
We would also like to hear from Honourable Mutsekwa which ruling he is referring to as being violated by our faction. The Minister should be worried about the Gandiya faction who is violating a provisional order barring them from ever referring to the Makarau judgement as it was appealed against on the 7th of April 2008. The Honourable Minister should follow court proceedings on a daily basis if he wants to be abreast of the current court rulings. He seems to be relying on outdated information supplied to him by those who have no current court orders.
As previously mentioned, we are not bound by ministerial resolutions when there are court orders. Honourable Mutsekwa should be advised as previously mentioned that the Makarau Judgement was suspended. He was even advised of same by the Attorney General's office. Honourable Minister speaks volume of rule of law which he himself is flouting willy nilly. He is acting on behalf of the Gandiya faction from whom he takes his orders. This is very clear even from a blind man's side. He is prepared to work with anyone who is opposed to ZANU PF as he stated in the Standard. He should not drag the Government and political parties into a church dispute. Why is he not concerned about the people who are going around breaking church properties.
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