19/03/2012

Zimbabwe: the story continues

Nolbert Kunonga in his Harare office
The Standard, Harare, Sunday, 18 March 2012 

Anglicans saga: Police ban gatherings by Kunonga’s rivals

BY JENIFFER DUBE
POLICE in Mashonaland West have imposed a ban on church activities of rivals of ex-communicated Anglican bishop Nolbert Kunonga, a police internal memorandum has shown. Kunonga, a self-confessed Zanu PF apologist, has been fighting for the control of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe with a rival group led by Bishop Chad Gandiya.

Memorandum number 18/12 to officers commanding districts written by the Officer Commanding Mashonaland West Province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Rangarirai Mushaurwa, directed all stations not to allow anyone to assemble for anything related to the Anglican church without Kunonga’s approval.

“It is important to note that the courts recognise the leader of the Anglican Church in the country as Bishop Nolbert Kunonga,” part of the memo reads.

“In the above context, any other person who claims leadership of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe is not recognised by the courts in Zimbabwe.

“It follows that activities by those who claim leadership of the Anglican Church are illegal and police will not sanction them.”

The memo says no priest, sub-deacon, church warden, mother union, youth, Bernard Mizeki Guild is allowed to organise, perform or call people to assemble for anything related to the Anglican Church unless approved by the ex-communicated Bishop.

“Therefore, the incumbent Bishop of the Diocese of Harare being Bishop Norbert Kunonga should be allowed to lead in peace and to look after the diocese and property of the diocese of Harare where it is located without any disturbances as he has done since 2001.

“Any interference in his governance should be treated as an act of violence, disregard of judiciary rulings as the said perpetrators should be judged for contempt of court”, the memo warns.
A feud between two factions of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been raging since Kunonga’s excommunication from the main Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in 2007 after he unilaterally pulled the Harare Diocese out of the province accusing his rivals of supporting homosexuality.
The feud, which is characterised by violent clashes especially targeted at CPCA members, has resulted in numerous court cases and political interventions to no avail.

Mashonaland West police spokesperson Clemence Mabwgeazara professed ignorance of the memo.

“I haven’t seen the letter,” Mabwgeazara said. “So far I do not know anything about it. There is no letter like that.”

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