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Clergy conference raided by police in Zimbabwe: The Church of England Newspaper, January 6, 2012 p 6. January 8, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Zimbabwe.
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Police in Zimbabwe have raided a clergy retreat conducted by the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland saying the gathering of 80 priests was an unlawful assembly that breached the Public Order and Security Act.

In an email sent to supporters abroad, Bishop Chad Gandiya reported that the security services had ordered the clergy to disperse, saying their annual retreat at Peterhouse – an independent Anglican boarding school in Marondera some 45 miles east of Harare – did not have police approval.

“This morning, Tuesday 3 January 2012, Marondera police arrived at Peterhouse High School and ordered all clergymen to vacate the school premises,” the Bishop wrote.

It was a “calculated harassment by some of the police officers,” Bishop Gandiya said, and “we deplore this action and call upon higher authorities to intervene.”

Bishop Gandiya is understood to have travelled to Police General Headquarters to dissuade the police from breaking up the meeting, but he appears to have been unsuccessful so far.

The Associated Press has reported that the clergy, along with Dr Julius Makoni, the Bishop of Manicaland, and Bishop Gandiya had refused to vacate the school and were in a “standoff” with police.

The raid demonstrated the collapse of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, the Bishop charged, and indicated the Church would suffer “another year of persecution at the hands of a hostile police force.”

In October, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, along with the Archbishops of Tanzania, Central and Southern Africa met with Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe and presented to him with a dossier chronicling state-sanctioned violence and persecution directed against Anglicans. President Mugabe told the archbishops he was unaware of the allegations.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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