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Bernard Mizeki festival draws 30,000 pilgrims: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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Over 30,000 Anglican pilgrims gathered in Marondera outside of Harare last weekend to commemorate the feast day of Bernard Mizeki, missionary, catechist and martyr. Born in Portuguese East Africa around 1861, as a young man Mizeki traveled to Cape Town to take service as a servant with a European family. There he attended an Anglican mission school and was baptized taking the name Bernard. After training as a catechist, he volunteered in 1891 to serve as a missionary in Mashonaland, in present day Zimbabwe. During the 1896 Mashona rebellion, Mizeki was singled out for death in reprisal for his mission work.  On June 17, Mizeki was attacked and left for dead. He crawled to a nearby hillside and after bandaging him, his wife sought aid. Returning with another woman they reported being frightened by an unearthly sound, “like many wings of great birds”, and by a dazzling light that moved toward the spot where Bernard lay. When they summoned the courage to go to the place where Bernard lay, his body had disappeared. His body was never found, and the exact site of his burial is unknown. The martyr’s feast, held on the Saturday closest to June 18, draws pilgrims from across Central and Southern Africa. The bishops of Central Zimbabwe, Masvingo, Manicaland, Northern Zambia, Eastern Zambia, Bulawayo and Harare were joined by pilgrims from South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, along with a delegation from the Diocese of Rochester in the day long services.

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Church technical college launched in Zimbabwe: The Church of England Newspaper, April 11, 2014 May 10, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Zimbabwe.
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The Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) has launched a $120 million dollar campaign to build a technical college outside of Harare. At a dinner held on 2 April 2014 at the Meikles Hotel, Dr. Chad Gandiya the Bishop of Harare, announced the start of a 25-year campaign to build a university for 8000 students in Chitungwiza, a town 25 miles south east of Harare.  “Among the several disciplines the university focus will be biomedical sciences and obviously this noble mission is a mammoth task but it is part of our mission to serve all members of our nation regardless of religious or political alignment or affiliation, and regardless of gender or age,” the bishop said according to a report of the launch printed by the Harare Herald.

Central Africa celebrates the end of the Kunonga era: The Church of England Newspaper, December 20, 2013 January 5, 2014

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The Church of the Province of Central Africa has postponed action to split the church into three national provinces, voting to put the Kunonga years behind them and work towards unity and healing .

Approximately 100 hundred bishops, clergy and lay delegates from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe met in Lusaka from 27 Nov to 1 Dec 2013 gathered under the theme “Going Forward Together in Unity and Prayer” in the province’s first synod since 2007.

Speaking to ACNS before the start of the meeting, Archbishop Albert Chama stated: “The six turbulent years that we have gone through since the last Synod require us all to move on in solidarity and in a very prayerful manner. God has seen us this far and he will lead us through.”

The Sept 2007 session held in the southern Malawi town of Mangochi was marked by debates over homosexuality, the Episcopal Church of the USA, Robert Mugabe and the aspirations of the national churches. The province was also without an archbishop and a number of dioceses were without bishops.

The then bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, attempted to capitalize on the power vacuum within the church and sought to enlist the province as an ally of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Unable to force the subordination of the province to the government of Zimbabwe, Dr. Kunonga told the Harare Herald the province had been dissolved, initiating six years of litigation.

In his presidential address last week Archbishop Chama  reported on the successful conclusion of the Kunonga schism, with the Zimbabwe courts returning all of the assets seized by Dr. Kunonga. However, the fight had damaged the church, burdening it with $200,000 of unpaid legal fees in the Diocese of Harare and $180,000 in the Diocese of Manicaland.

However the Bishop of Masvingo, the Rt. Rev. Godfrey Tawonevzi on 9 Dec 2013 told overseas supporters Dr. Kunonga’s allies had not halted their actions in his diocese. Kunonga loyalists with the help of local police and government officials were holding on to a number of churches and schools in defiance of the Harare court orders.

Debate over dividing the CPCA into national provinces at the Lusaka meeting of synod did not have the politically charged atmosphere of 2007, participants told The Church of England Newspaper.

While many Zambian delegates pushed for division, the parlous state of the church in Zimbabwe following the Kunonga schism, and the lack of a clear guidance from diocesan synods in Malawi prevented a consensus from being reached on division.

Delegates opted to follow the counsel of the archbishop and the theme of the meeting focus the efforts of the province on rebuilding institutions and fostering unity, sources told CEN.

Hospital construction project sign of normality for Harare diocese: Church of England Newspaper, September 6, 2013 p 6. September 12, 2013

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The Diocese of Harare will restart construction on a rural hospital in Murewa that had been abandoned in 2007 during the Kunonga years. Resumption of the building project is a sign, the Bishop of Harare said on 31 August, that the diocese had been able to put its past behind it and “transform lives” of the people of Zimbabwe.

Following the death of five members of the Wabvumi Guild, an Anglican men’s service organization, in a road accident in Murewa in 1997, the guild began a fundraising campaign to build a community hospital to serve the 30,000 people in Murewa – a town 40 miles north east of Harare. However construction was halted in 2007 when Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, the former bishop of Harare, seized all of the diocese’s properties with the help of the security services. The renegade bishop then abandoned the work begun on St Clare’s Memorial Hospital.

In a sermon delivered at St Clare’s Mission in Murewa for the Wabvuwi Annual Conference the Rt. Rev. Chad Gandiya said he was proud of the work undertaken by the guild to restart the construction programme.

“We are in this together as a Church and as your bishop, I am pleasantly surprised at the magnitude of the work being done by Wabvuwi. We are proud of what you have done within the Anglican Diocese of Harare. There might be few Wabvuwi in the Murewa community but you have chosen a health project that will really transform lives. May God continue to bless you. I will also help in raising funds to complete this project by 2014,” Dr. Gandiya said

In a separate statement released last week Dr. Gandiya said the building project had reached “window level”. Approximately US$31,000 had been spent so far, but “more support is still required from the corporate world and individuals to ensure that the project is completed on time and begins to serve the Murewa community in the delivery of standard health services.”

A newspaper gets burned in reporting on Anglican Africa; Get Religion, August 123, 2013 August 12, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of the Province of Central Africa, Get Religion, Press criticism, Zimbabwe.
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The Christian Science Monitor has been tripped up by the African press and the internet, reporting as breaking news an item almost two years old.

The gist of the story entitled “Churches feel vulnerable after Mugabe reelected in Zimbabwe” printed on 10 August 2013 is correct — church leaders are worried what Robert Mugabe will do following his reelectionas president — but the background information used to pad out the article is incorrect.

I sympathize with the reporter on this story. This CSM story showcases the perils of re-write journalism. I use the internet for researching my stories also when I am not familiar with a topic. And I have been burned by Wikipedia and African newspapers too. Over the years I have covered religion in Africa I have learned how to smell a bad story — my “spidey sense” goes off when something is not quite right. And it tingled, jingled and jangled with this piece.

The article — written from Boston — begins:

The atmosphere in Zimbabwe after the reelection of strongman Robert Mugabe is not one of great celebration, but of tension. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the main challenger, says he will not join in a new governing coalition but is contesting the credibility of the July 31 vote in court.

Fears are on the rise in the capital of Harare, reports say, that under one-party rule, a host of Mr. Mugabe’s old partners, cronies, henchmen, and friends will start to come out of the woodwork to take advantage of the hour.

So far so good. Without hearing the details, this story sounds right. Though I’ve not been back to Zimbabwe since 1999, I’ve kept up my contacts and have written 150 stories about its travails. At this point the article focuses on the fears of church leaders about what Pres. Mugabe will do next.

Foreign-owned banks, mines, and businesses have heard that, to fulfill a campaign promise made by Mugabe, their assets may be seized and restructured into a majority national ownership arrangement. Now it appears the considerable property of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe, though it is mostly a black membership, may also be under renewed scrutiny by the unscrupulous.

“Oh no”, I thought, not again. Dr. Nolbert Kunonga — an ex-Anglican bishop and one-time crony of Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party — appeared to have come back from the political dead and returned to his evil ways. The article then moves to detail:

The chief Anglican bishop in Zimbabwe, Chad Gandiya, this week accused a renegade clergyman and friend of Mugabe of restarting a campaign using brutality, the courts, and police to seize churches, orphanages, and missions owned by mainstream Anglicans.

That also seemed likely, but Dr. Gandiya is only the Bishop of Harare — one of five Anglican bishops in Zimbabwe. Though bishop of the diocese based in the capital, he is not the chief bishop for the country — the chief bishop is the Archbishop of Central Africa who happens to live in Zambia. But the report seemed right. The diocesanFacebook page recently posted a note saying:

Anglicans across Zimbabwe must remain aware that the disbarred bishop intends to feature prominently in Church affairs and cause confusion, and is reportedly being revived by some evil forces who believe in his crusade to repossess our properties using the Constitutional Court. This is informational, for your knowledge, but remain prayerful. Victory is ours! We must not forget the pain. Anglicans are forgiving.

But after this point things become unglued. It cites an old New York Times story for color quotes on Dr. Kunonga — a name worthy of a James Bond villain — and then states things that set off my alarms.

Gandiya told reporters that Kunonga this week sent thugs into his own home in Harare, where they stole cellphones and records of church holdings and personnel. Gandiya also said that in the area of Murewa, outside Harare, local police are supporting Kunonga’s effort to take over a mission, and to evict 100 children from the Shearly Cripps orphanage, first started by British and American missionaries. …

Kunonga’s splinter church for a time enjoyed standing but is now in legal limbo. But this could change again. Kunonga currently holds, in contravention of a court order, some of the largest Anglican church buildings and edifices in Harare, including the main cathedral, along with bank accounts and vehicles. …

The head of the Anglican church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has said he is seeking a visit to speak with Mugabe about the issue.

I had reported all of these things almost two years ago for the Church of England Newspaper as had the secular press. Last year I reported on the expulsion of Dr. Kunonga from the cathedral and the return of the diocesan bank accounts and vehicles to Dr. Gandiya. Had something happened this past week?

A quick email to Dr. Gandiya returned an answer from Harare that the bishop was worried Dr. Kunonga might try something new. But they still possessed the cathedral, orphanage, schools, bank accounts and cars of the diocese. Dr. Kunonga and his allies had absconded with some things, and saddled the diocese with unpaid bills –but nothing more. Nor did the Archbishop of Canterbury’s staff seem to know anything about plans for a meeting between Robert Mugabe and Justin Welby.

True, the Anglican Communion News Service did re-post the story. But ACNS is not a news service in the sense that it engages in journalism. It is not even the news service for the Anglican Communion. It releases press statements for some Anglican churches and agencies on behalf of the Anglican Consultative Council — a London-based pan-Anglican organization that discusses issues of common concern but has no authority other than moral suasion. (And that has been damaged in recent years due to the Anglican sex wars with some of the African churches boycotting its meetings). It also provides an RSS service for Anglican related news articles. In other words, its re-posting of a story is no guarantee of authenticity.

It is pretty easy to see how the mistake was made. One of the hyperlinks in the CSMstory goes to a piece in the Zim Daily. The date at the top of the page is today’s date. And tomorrow the date at the top will be tomorrow’s date. Even though the story is two years old. The examples pulled from this article for the CSM were true — but no longer.

What is the moral of this story? Trust but verify.

Relying on a mis-dated story from the internet from an African newspaper can lead to journalistic disaster unless you verify the information with those involved. That cannot always be done — following a Christianity Today story I wrote on Zimbabwe in 2011, the government press office stopped responding to my emails. But without verification, a reporter takes his professional life in his hands when relying on uncorroborated stories from the African press.

Journalists should thus be afeard. The internet is full of noises, sounds, and sweet airs, that seem to give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about a reporter’s ears, offering him the mirage of an easy ending to a story on deadline.

And, I would also say a second lesson to be learned from this fiasco is that there is value in engaging specialist reporters. it may be cheaper to keep things in house or out source everything to the wire services — but as the old adage goes “you get what you pay for” — and this holds true for journalism also.

First published in Get Religion.

Anglicans return to the shrine of Bernard Mizeki: The Church of England Newspaper, June 23, 2013 p 7. June 27, 2013

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Five years after breakaway Bishop Nolbert Kunonga banned Anglicans from worshipping in the churches of the Diocese of Harare, over 25,000 pilgrims returned to the shrine of Bernard Mizeki for a two-day service in Marondera, Zimbabwe.

“The rightful people who deserve to be at this shrine are gathered here today,” The Bishop of Harare, the Rt Rev Chad Gandiya told worshippers.

“They kept us out with guns and everything but our God fought this battle on our behalf. He has brought us back to the shrine,” Dr Gandiya said, adding you “remained resolute in your support of our cause and today our efforts have been rewarded greatly.”

In 2007 Dr Kunonga broke with the Church of the Province of Central Africa and set up an Anglican church of Zimbabwe and proclaimed himself its Archbishop. Backed by the Zimbabwe security services Dr Kunonga evicted congregations from their churches if they refused to swear allegiance to him.

However last year the Zimbabwe Supreme Court issued a ruling stripping control of church properties from Dr Kunonga. After having met at the Marondera showgrounds the past five years members of the diocese were able to return to the shrine to celebrate the 14-15 June festival.

Joining Dr Gandiya were the Rt Rev Julius Makoni, Bishop of Manicaland; the Rt Rev Godfrey Tawonezvi, Bishop of Masvingo; the Rt Rev Peter Hatendi, retired Bishop of Harare; the Rt Rev Mark Van Koevering; Bishop of Niassa, Mozambique; the Rt Rev Dinis Sengulane, Bishop of Lebombo, Mozambique and the chief celebrant for the festival the Rt Rev Ismael Mukuwanda, Bishop of Central Zimbabwe.

Pilgrims from across Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa and Mozambique attended the festival, as did representatives from the Diocese of Rochester, the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and the Roman Catholic Church.

“For five years we were in exile but we told our members to employ what we coined ‘kneeology’, meaning stay on your knees and pray. That is how we won this battle,” Dr Gandiya said.

“It was not easy but we soldiered on knowing that eventually we would be fairly judged. We have waited for this day for five whole years and finally it has happened.”

Final appeal dismissed in Zimbabwe property cases: The Church of England Newspaper, March 3, 3013, p 7. March 23, 2013

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The Zimbabwe Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of the former bishop of Manicaland Elson Jakazi, closing the last legal door on the Kunonga schism in Zimbabwe.

In a ruling handed down last week Justice Vernanda Ziyambi dismissed the former bishop’s application for a rehearing of his case, stating the arguments put forward were without merit. The decision now permits Bishop Julius Makoni and the diocese to begin eviction proceedings to remove the bishop and his supporters from the diocese’s cathedral, churches, schools and hospitals.

In October 2012 a three judge panel of the Zimbabwe Supreme Court heard seven appeals brought by the Church of the Province of Central Africa and the breakaway bishops of Harare and Manicaland, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and Bishop Jakazi.  The court dismissed five of the appeals and two cases concerning Dr. Kunonga and the Diocese of Harare were taken under advisement.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Yunus Omerjee struck Bishop Jakazi’s case from consideration finding he had failed to comply with the rules of the court.

On 19 May 2010 Mutare High Court Justice Chinembiri Bhunu held that as Bishop Jakazi had resigned his see to join Dr. Kunonga to form the schismatic Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, he was no longer Bishop of Manicaland. “What this means is that once [Bishop Jakazi]‘s resignation letter was received by the Archbishop of the Central African Province of Central Africa, he automatically ceased to be an employee or member of that church organization without any further formalities.”

“Having ceased to be an employee or member of the church organisation he automatically stripped himself of any rights and privileges arising” from his office, Justice Bhunu concluded However a stay of execution of the order to vacate was entered pending appeal.

While the legal fight to regain the properties may have ended with victory for the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland face considerable financial burdens in repairing their churches.

After the diocese regained control of its Cathedral in November, the Harare City Council disconnected its water supply. The city has demanded payment of over $55,000 in utility charges incurred by Dr. Kunonga that were unpaid at the time of his eviction. The diocese has asked the city to seek payment from Dr. Kunonga for the debts.

A city council spokesman told The Zimbabwean “It is not Kunonga who owes us but the Anglican Cathedral. We do not mind who pays it but the bill has got to be settled.”

Harare Cathedral reconsecrated: The Church of England Newspaper, December 26, 2012 January 3, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Diocese of Harare offering his heartfelt congratulations upon their return to their churches after five years of exile.

“You have faced threats of violence and arrest and yet your faith has not weakened, rather it has grown stronger,” Dr. Williams wrote on 17 Dec 2012, adding that “through all this your faith has been a beacon of light to the rest of the Anglican Communion. Your numbers have grown along with your resilience to live in the light of Christ, no matter the consequences.”

“Today you have been rewarded for your struggle. Today we thank God for his unending mercy and justice. Today I join you in joyously praising God as you finally return to your churches,” Dr. Williams said.

Last month the Zimbabwe Supreme Court ruled the properties of the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland belonged to the Church of the Province of Central Africa and not to the former Bishops of Harare and Manicaland, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and Elson Jakazi. Constables have ejected Dr. Kunonga and his allies from church properties in Harare, allowing congregations to return to their churches.

Dr. Kunonga and Bishop Jakazi have filed motions for re-hearings of their appeals, but the Supreme Court has denied the applications, holding the decisions are final. At a 19 Dec press conference, Dr. Kunonga said he would honour the court ruling.

A spokesman for Dr. Kunonga denied his churchhas been disbanded after the court ruling,” saying “after the ruling we had to move out of the churches and we are grateful to other churches and schools who have come to our side. All our services are going on without interference.”

On 16 Dec, Bishop Gandiya accompanied by Archbishop Albert Chama of Central Africa and the Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt. Rev. Brian Castle, led a service of rededication and cleansing of St Mary’s and All Saints Cathedral in Harare.  Diocese of Harare secretary Clifford Dzawo told Zimbabwe newspapers similar ceremonies would be held in each of the diocese’s churches.

“We are going into all churches for cleansing as the churches had been turned into brothels when we were in exile,” Mr. Dzawo said. “Some places had been turned into crèches,” businesses and other commercial operations and “were abused.”  But the cathedral “is now being used for the proper purpose it serves.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Gun-toting bishop fails to block return of Harare’s churches: The Church of England Newspaper, December 23, 2012 p 7. December 28, 2012

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After five years of exile, Anglicans in the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland have been allowed to return home.  While isolated incidents of violence and harassment have been reported Diocese of Harare spokesman Ms. Precious Shumba reports that most churches have been peacefully returned to the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).

On 3 Dec 2012 the government-backed Harare Herald quoted Ms. Shumba as saying: “This weekend we have not witnessed any cases of violence and church services were conducted peacefully. The evictions are also going on peacefully with people moving out without any resistance.”

After breaking with the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga was given trusteeship of the properties of the Diocese of Harare, while his ally, the former Bishop of Manicaland, Elson Jakazi, gained controlled of that diocese’s lands.

In 2009 High Court judge Ben Hlatshwayo handed down an order giving Dr. Kunonga trusteeship of the properties pending adjudication by the Supreme Court. Last month a three judge panel dismissed all of Bishop Kunonga’s and Bishop Jakazi’s claims and ordered the properties be turned over immediately to the CPCA.

Most of the 72 Harare parishes were turned over to the CPCA without incident, as few were being used as active churches.  Many had been rented by Dr. Kunonga to schools and businesses, and one church rectory was reported being used as a brothel.

However, the Daily News reported Dr. Kunonga was not going without a fight. When its reporters visited the Cathedral Church of St Mary and All Saints in central Harare on 29 Nov, they reported that threatened them. The bishop was “sweating profusely” it reported and had a gun holstered at his hip. He warned the reporters: “You think I am playing with you, I can shoot you.”

The Daily News also witnessed a scuffle between Dr. Kunonga and a constable, who blocked the former bishop from leaving the cathedral until he turned over the keys to the diocesan car.

On 30 Nov the diocese reported the Rev. Naboth Manzongo “sustained a deep cut on the forehead after being hit by a brick” by the Rev. Tendai Mukariri, a “Kunonga priest.”

Fr. Mukariri “and his thugs were engaged in massive physical violence against the [Harare} Deputy Sheriff and his team” at the cathedral, the diocese reported.  Six Kunonga supporters were arrested and Fr. Manzongo was taken to the hospital.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 58, December 2, 2012 December 2, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican.TV, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church, Zimbabwe.
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This week Kevin and George talk about the Artificial Ecclesiastical Diocese of South Carolina (AEDOS) and some of the miscommunication between it’s leadership. They also talk about International stories from Canada and Egypt. And what episode won’t be complete without a story about Legal Violence in Zimbabwe? #AU58 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

Court throws Dr Kunonga out of Zimbabwe’s churches: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2012 p 7. November 29, 2012

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A three-judge panel of the Zimbabwe Supreme Court has held the properties of the Diocese of Harare belong to the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) and are to be administered by the Bishop of Harare, Dr. Chad Gandiya.

Supreme Court Judge Yunus Omerjee on 19 Nov 2012 dismissed the claims made by the former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and ordered that he return control to Dr. Gandiya. Dr. Gandiya greeted the news with joy.

“Today is a day of thanksgiving for the love, grace, mercy and faithfulness of our God. To God be the glory, Great things he has done! We will forever remember and sing how gracious our God is. We call upon all members of our Diocese to be gracious also in winning.”

In 2007 Dr. Kunonga broke with the CPCA to form the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe. The breakaway bishop claimed his reasons for leaving the CPCA were due to its support of homosexuality and progressive Western theology. However, the CPCA has long opposed the innovations of doctrine and discipline made by some Western churches, and notes the controversial bishop had been the subject of investigations for fraud, heresy and misconduct.

He was alleged to have ordered the murder of disloyal clergy and was a vocal supporter of the country’s strongman, President Robert Mugabe.  In return for his loyalty, the regime gave Dr. Kunonga a farm expropriated from a white commercial farmer.  The security services and police also supported Dr Kunonga, using violence to expel Anglicans from their churches who would not pledge their loyalty to him. Court rulings that ordered Dr. Kunonga to share the use of church properties with Dr. Gandiya’s supporters were ignored, and attempts by constables to enforce them were blocked by the secret police.

Last month oral argument was presented before the Supreme Court panel on the seven Anglican Church appeals. At the close of oral argument the court dismissed five appeals as defective. Two appeals that determined the ownership were taken under consideration.

At the hearing attorneys Adrian De Bourbon and Thabani Mpofu, appearing for the CPCA, argued that in a letter dated 21 Sept 2010 Dr. Kunonga had resigned as Bishop of Harare of the CPCA and that the province had accepted his resignation on 16 Nov. The formation of the Anglican Church of Zimbabe by Dr. Kunonga was a schismatic act that did not vest control of CPCA properties in the new entity.

Attorneys Tawanda Kanengoni and Charles Nyika appearing on behalf of Dr. Kunonga argued the former bishop and his board of appointed trustess for the Diocese of Harare were still members of the CPCA.  Dr. Kunonga’s letter of resignation did not conform to the canons of the CPCA and was void.  The dispute centered round who was the proper Bishop of Harare. The court held it was Dr. Gandiya.

Dr. Kunonga did not respond to email queries asking for his comments, but in a statement released after the verdict was handed down, Dr. Gandiya called upon the Anglicans of Zimbabwe to rebuild the diocese. “The first thing we ask every parish to do when you go back is to carry out thorough inspection of all our buildings.”

“Assess the damage, note what needs to be done and carry out a full inventory of what we left behind when we were evicted,” he said.

The “rebuilding of God’s people in our diocese should be a priority also. Our people were greatly traumatised by the persecution of the last five years. They are in need of healing,” also the bishop said. “Come let us work together, let us rise up and build! Renovate! Paint! Let us do it all to God’s glory.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Breakaway bishop appeals Supreme Court loss: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2012 p 7. November 19, 2012

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Bishop Elson Jakazi has filed a motion with the Zimbabwe Supreme Court asking it to re-hear his appeal of a lower court ruling that held he was no longer Bishop of Manicaland.

Last month a three judge panel of the Zimbabwe Supreme Court heard seven appeals brought by the Church of the Province of Central Africa and the breakaway bishops of Harare and Manicaland, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and Bishop Jakazi.  The court dismissed five of the appeals and two cases concerning Dr. Kunonga and the Diocese of Harare were taken under advisement.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Yunus Omerjee struck Bishop Jakazi’s case from consideration finding he had failed to comply with the rules of the court.

On 19 May 2010 Mutare High Court JusticeChinembiri Bhunu held that as Bishop Jakazi had resigned his see to join Dr. Kunonga to form the schismatic Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, he was no longer Bishop of Manicaland. “It is an established rule that resignation is a unilateral voluntary act which takes effect as soon as the resignation has been communicated to the correct person or authority.

“What this means is that once [Bishop Jakazi]‘s resignation letter was received by the Archbishop of the Central African Province of Central Africa, he automatically ceased to be an employee or member of that church organization without any further formalities.”

Justice Bhunu concluded that “having ceased to be an employee or member of the church organisation he automatically stripped himself of any rights and privileges arising” from his office. However, the bishop stayed enforcement of his ruling pending the appeal to the Supreme Court and Bishop Jakazi remained in control of the diocese’s properties.

The Supreme Court ruling ends the stay of execution of Justice Bhunu’s order to vacate. But Bishop Jakazi has told the Manica Post that “I am not going anywhere” and would fight any attempt to evict him from the cathedral in Mutare.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Supreme Court evicts schismatic bishop from Harare’s churches: Anglican Ink, November 19, 2012 November 19, 2012

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Dr. Nolbert Kunonga

The Zimbabwe Supreme Court has handed the breakaway bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga a surprise loss and ordered he turn over the diocese’s churches to the lawful bishop, Dr. Chad Gandiya.

The decision caps five years of legal battles between Dr. Kunonga and the Church of the Province of Central Africa and its bishops of Harare, Dr. Sebastian Bakare and Dr. Gandiya. It has also been marked by violent intimidation of Anglicans loyal to the province – estimated to be over 90 per cent of its members – with the security services and police intervening on behalf of Dr. Kunonga to drive Anglicans out of their churches.

Appointed Bishop of Harare in 2000 in an election marred by interference from the security services, the American educated bishop has had a controversial tenure.

A native of Zimbabwe, Nolbert Kunonga earned a PhD from Northwestern University and taught at Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown New York before returning to Harare to stand for election as bishop.

Read it all in Anglican Ink:

Supreme Court loss for Dr. Kunonga: The Church of England Newspaper, October 28, 2012 p 6. October 31, 2012

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Dr Julius Makoni, Bishop of Manicaland

The Harare Supreme Court has handed breakaway bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and his allies a defeat in their bid to take control of Anglican church properties in Zimbabwe.

On 22 Oct 2012 the country’s high court heard the seven cases brought by and against the former bishop of Harare in his bid over control of the assets of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).  The CPCA Bishop of Harare, Dr. Chad Gandiya, reported via email: “Our Supreme Court hearing took place this morning from 9.30 to close to 13.00hrs and finished all the matters. Most of the Kunonga appeals including that of Manicaland were thrown out.”

The bishop said the “Harare matter was heard and the judges reserved judgement” with a decision expected within three months.

In the case of Bishop Elson Madoda Jakazi and another versus The Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa and two others (SC118/10), the high court dismissed the claims of Dr. Kunonga’s ally Bishop Jakazi that he controlled the assets of the Diocese of Manicaland.

On 23 Sept 2007 Bishop Jakazai announced he was pulling his diocese out of the CPCA to join Dr. Kunonga’s “Anglican Church of Zimbabwe”.

However Bishop Jakazi, unlike Dr. Kunonga, tendered his resignation as Bishop of Manicaland when he quit the CPCA.  When the CPCA took Bishop Jakazi to court to regain control of the property the Mutare district court ruled in 2010 the decision to resign ended Bishop Jakazi’s control over diocesan property.  In Harare, Dr. Kunonga did not resign when he quit the CPCA and he has maintained that he is the sole and rightful bishop of Harare.

However, the 2010 court ruling permitted Bishop Jakazi to remain in possession of the Manicland property pending a review of the decision by the Supreme Court.

In the two years that followed the lower court decision, Bishop Jakazi is alleged to have diverted assets from the diocese’s schools and churches and with the collusion of the security services, has driven Anglicans loyal to the new Bishop of Manicaland, Dr. Julius Makoni, from their churches.  Bishop Jakazi, along with Dr. Kunonga, are fervent supports of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party.

Dr. Gandiya reported he was “very pleased that its over so quickly. It went very well and we are happy the way it went. This does not mean you stop praying _ please continue to pray as the judges write down their judgement. The end is in sight now -Praise God!”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 54, October 26, 2012 October 27, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Anglican.TV, Canon Law, Church of England, Church of Nigeria, Church of North India, Church of South India, Fort Worth, Persecution, Zimbabwe.
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In this weeks episode Kevin and George bring an update on the Diocese of South Carlina and their separation from the Episcopal Church. Also this week they talk about Women’s Ordination and the new task force created by the Anglican Church in North America. And what episode would be complete without news from one of the broken Anglican “Instruments of Unity”. Peter talks about the reality of Women Bishops in England and Allen Haley guildes the viewer thru the Kangaroos courts found in Title IV. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com #AU54

Supreme Court to hear Kunonga complaint: The Church of England Newspaper, September 30, 2012 p 6. October 2, 2012

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Dr Nolbert Kunonga

The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has set a court date to adjudicate who is the lawful owner of the Diocese of Harare’s properties.  In an email to the Church of England Newspaper, Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya reported “the Supreme Court hearing will take place from the 22 October 2012 and will last that week.”

Following his withdrawal from the Church of the Province of Central Africa and his excommunication, the former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, named himself Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe and proceeded to expropriate church properties.  A supporter of President Robert Mugabe and the rulin ZANU-PF party, Dr. Kunonga was assisted in his takeover of church lands by the security services.

The CPCA asked the court to restrain Dr. Kunonga.  However, rulings directing Dr. Kunonga to share church properties were ignored, while those giving him trusteeship of properties pending a final adjudication were enforced with violence by the security services.

Speaking to a meeting of the Diocese of Natal clergy on 14 Sept 2012, Bishop Gandiya reported Dr. Kunonga had extended his reach to the diocese of Manicaland and Masvingo, taking over church properties from the Anglican bishops with the assistance of the police.  An attempt to confiscate church properties was blocked by the local courts in the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe, while the breakaway bishop had yet to make a move in Matabeleland.

“If Bishop Nolbert Kunonga tries to take over the Anglican Church in Matabeleland, he will be playing with fire,” Bishop Gandiya said, according to the Diocese of Natal Inzibada.

“Given that Kunonga is Shona, and the history of atrocities that the [North Korean- trained, Shona] 5th Brigade committed in Matabeleland in the 1980s, the people of Matabeleland are most unlikely to stand for Kunonga’s interference there,” the bishop said.

“We look forward to getting back the properties that Kunonga stole from the CPCA. In the meantime he continues illegally to strip the church of assets by selling off its lands,” Bishop Gandiya told the Natal clergy.

In his email Bishop Gandiya said he was “appealing for any assistance towards covering our legal bills. Most importantly we are asking you all to join us in a week of prayer and fasting during the hearing period starting on the 22nd October. We want to thank you all for journeying with us during this difficult period in the history of our church.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Supreme Court date set for Harare property cases: Anglican Ink, September 20, 2012 September 22, 2012

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Nolbert Kunonga

The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has agreed to hear the appeal of Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Diocese of Harare in its suit to recover the properties expropriated by former bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga.

In an email to supporters in the West, Bishop Gandiya reported “the Supreme Court hearing will take place from the 22 October 2012 and will last that week.”

Elected bishop of Harare in 2000, Dr. Kunonga withdrew from the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in 2007 after a series of disputes that included a church trial for theft, heresy, attempted murder and conspiracy.  A vocal supporter of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Dr. Kunonga was rewarded by the regime in 2002 with the gift of land confiscated from a white farmer.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Bishops plea for justice from Robert Mugabe: The Church of England Newspaper, September 9, 2012 p 3 September 10, 2012

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Zimbabwe’s Anglican bishops have appealed to President Robert Mugabe to enforce the rule of law in the Central African nation and end police support for former Harare Nolbert Kunonga.

Last week the Bishops Cleophas Lunga of Matabeleland, Julius Makoni of Manicaland, Godfrey Tawonezvi of Masvingo and Ishmael Mukuwanda of Central Zimbabwe wrote to President Mugabe asking him to intervene in the case of Daramombe Mission in Chivhu in the Diocese of Masvingo.

They asked the president “members of the Government of National Unity, Home Affairs co-ministers and the Police Commissioner-General to intervene in this matter where innocent and peace-loving worshippers are being driven out of their church buildings for no  legitimate reason.”

“As Anglican Bishops in Zimbabwe in the Church of the Province of Central Africa, we wish to express our dismay at the continued harassment of the faithful in the Diocese of Masvingo. What happened to freedom of worship in Zimbabwe,” they asked.

The bishops said that a court had held ruled the Daramombe Mission in the Diocese of Chivu was not part of the properties claimed by Dr. Kunonga as it was not part of the Diocese of Harare when he served as its bishop.  However, Dr. Kunonga’s supporters had seized the church with the support of local police officials and driven out Anglicans loyal to the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

“What Kunonga is using to hoodwink the police are title deeds which he illegally refused to surrender to the Diocese of Masvingo at its formation. We are also disturbed that the police have taken sides. They are the ones who are in the forefront when our members are evicted from their church buildings,” the bishop said.

During his meeting with President Mugabe in 2011, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams pressed him to intervene in the Dr. Kunonga affair and uphold the power of the courts.  The protestations, however, appear not to have swayed the octogenarian Zimbabwe strongman as sources inside the country continue to report harassment by the security services of Anglicans.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Govt minister denounces Dr. Kunonga as satan’s ‘angel’: The Church of England Newspaper, July 22, 2012 p 6. July 26, 2012

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Dr. Nolbert Kunonga came under sharp criticism last week from a government minister who accused the former Bishop of Harare of being a monster of iniquity for having used violence and terror to intimidate Anglicans in Zimbabwe.

Last week the Minister of Finance, Mr. Tendai Biti M.P. – who also served as Secretary-General of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-Tsvangirai) in the coalition government led by President Robert Mugabe—spoke to reporters while on a visit to a shopping mall in his constituency in Harare.

Asked about the notorious archbishop of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, Mr. Biti responded that Dr. Kunonga was no Anglican.  Stating that he was an Anglican and member of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the minister denounced Dr. Kunonga’s campaign of driving faithful Anglicans out of their churches.

“He is also lying that he is a bishop. He is nothing but the devil’s incarnate,” Mr. Biti said, adding that Dr. “Kunonga has said if we build churches in Anglican’s name, he will take them over. He is lying. He is not Anglican and he does not own the name Anglican.”

The minister said that Anglicans in his constituency would soon be out from under the thumb of Dr. Kunonga as the government would be building a community hall on land donated by the city of Harare.  “We intend to have the hall, a tennis court and a swimming pool among other structures on the piece of land and everyone will be free to use it,” the minister said, adding that “Those without churches, including Anglicans, will be free to use the hall to hold their services.”

A fervent supporter of the ruling ZANU-PF party and its leader Robert Mugabe, Dr. Kunonga has also denounced the MDC as being a stooge of British imperial interests. However, he did not respond to our email query prior to our going to press.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kunonga closes Mizeki shrine to Anglicans: The Church of England Newspaper, July 8, 2012 p 7. July 9, 2012

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Pilgrims attending the Bernard Mizeki festival at the Marondera fair grounds last week

The former bishop of Harare has once again blocked Anglican pilgrims from worshiping at the shrine of Bernard Mizeki.

With backing from the police, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga last month refused to allow members of the Church of the Province of Central Africa to worship at the shrine located 11 kilometers from Marondera in Zimbabwe. An estimated 30,000 Anglicans from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana gathered instead for the 22-24 June festival at the Marondera show grounds under the leadership of Archbishop Albert Chama.

One of the Central Africa church’s first native catechists, Bernard Mizeki was martyred on 18 June 1896 by Mangwende villagers in Murehwa who felt threatened by his Christian witness.

According to local press accounts of the proceeding, Archbishop Chama, Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare and other Anglican bishops urged the pilgrims to pray for the peace and integrity of Zimbabwe.

“We pray for the country’s leadership led by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. We pray for a good government that would strive to eradicate poverty and other forms of suffering. We also pray for those who continue to be abused and those who have lost their lives in the course of their religious practice, like Bernard Mizeki,” press reports from the meeting said.

On 16 June, Dr. Kunonga led members of his breakaway Anglican Church of Zimbabwe in worship at the shrine.  According to the Harare Herald, Dr. Kunonga urged his supporters to back the ruling ZANU-PF party of President Mugabe policies of evicting white farmers from the country.

“The land reform and the indigenisation programmes are not election gimmicks but matters of life, which seek to liberate the previously downtrodden Africans … Just look at what is happening in South Africa at the moment. Youths have realised they are heirs to the land and will not accept piece-meal deals” to redistribute the country’s land” he said according to the Herald, which reported 20,000 people in attendance.

However, on 22 June 2012 the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ridiculed Dr. Kunonga’s attendance claims.

“Kunonga was speaking to a few parishioners and hundreds of school children from Anglican schools who were forced to attend this year’s Bernard Mizeki commemorations in Marondera,” the MDC’s The Real Change Times said.

“Weeks before the event, Kunonga wrote to all heads of Anglican boarding schools instructing them to send schoolchildren to the event or risk unspecified action,” the newspaper said.

It went on to criticize Dr. Kunonga’s “boot-licking” of ZANU-PF.  “Kunonga’s behaviour is synonymous with that of a politician rather than a priest. Since his excommunication from the mainstream Anglican Church, the CPCA over five years ago, the so-called bishop has been persecuting his rivals, chasing them away from church properties and churches. Most of these churches are now being rented out as private schools, pre-schools” and other money-making schemes, the MDC said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kunonga calls for a war on the “white man”: The Church of England Newspaper, May 13, 2012 p 6. May 17, 2012

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Dr Nolbert Kunonga

The former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, has urged Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe to expel the few remaining white farmers from their lands, telling a gathering of ZANU (PF) supporters that “Whites like other aliens should not be allowed to own land and other properties in the country as they are strangers.”

In an account of his sermon printed in The Zimbabwean, Dr. Kunonga said that he too had been engaged in a campaign of expropriating white-owned properties. “I took 3800 church properties in the region since their title deeds were in my name. There was no way the properties could remain under charge of the church controlled by whites and their black puppets. Bishops such as Julius Makoni, Chad Gandiwa and others are MDC-T and furthered western interests,” he said.\

The controversial bishop, who was excommunicated by the Church of the Province of Central Africa after he quit the church to form his own Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, has waged a violent campaign of repression with the support of the security services against Anglicans who are loyal to the Bishop of Harare.

In 2011 the Archbishops of Canterbury, Central Africa, Southern Africa and Tanzania, along with local Anglican bishops, met with President Mugabe asking him to reassert the rule of law in Zimbabwe, and protect persecuted Anglicans from the depredations of Dr. Kunonga. The former bishop has been banned from travel to the U.S., the E.U. and the U.K. due to his complicity with the crimes of the Mugabe regime.

A long time supporter of the Zimbabwean president, Dr. Kunonga has campaigned against the opposition MDC party and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.  He told the gathering at the Dimbe Primary School near Marondera in Mashonaland East that MDC-T and “its western puppet, Morgan Tsvangirai, are agents of doom fighting to reverse the land reform programme and hand back land to the former colonial white masters.”

“Tsvangirai is a white man masked in black skin. He is like the Biblical Pharaoh who enjoyed the suffering and economic deprivation of his own people. On the other hand, Mugabe is the Biblical Daniel sent to suffer for the cause of his people,” said Dr. Kunonga.

The former bishop added that those who drive out white farmers, MDC supporters and foreigners from their lands “will enter the kingdom of God.”

“As Christians; we must gear ourselves for a bloody war against white interests,” he said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Harare bishop arrested for holding confirmation service: The Church of England Newspaper, January 20, 2012 p 6. January 25, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Zimbabwe.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A clergy wives’ conference has been cancelled following intervention by the Zimbabwe secret police.

On 13 January 2012 the Diocese of Harare was contacted by the management of the Jamaica Inn, a hotel/conference centre outside Harare, informing Bishop Chad Gandiya that agents of the CIO had visited the Inn the night.  The manager reported that she had been instructed by the security services to cancel the meeting which was scheduled for later that day.

Bishop Gandiya told SW Radio Africa the manager “sounded traumatized, very, very traumatized by the CIOs and it was sad news indeed for the organizers of the retreat.”

However, “we are not even sure these people were genuine CIOs and I am in the process of drafting them a letter to find out if they sent anyone to Jamaica Inn,” the bishop said.

On 2 Jan the broke up a clergy retreat for the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland held at Peterhouse School.  The police stated they were taking preemptive actions to prevent violence at the clergy conference in case supporters of former bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga invaded the venue.

The latest police action comes after Bishop Gandiya wrote to the commissioner of police Augustine Chihuri.  According to the bishop’s letter, published on 16 Jan by the Association of Zimbabwe Journalists, Bishop Gandiya was arrested by police after he performed a confirmation service on 17 Dec 2011 at St Bernard’s School in Mhondoro.

“After the service two local policemen based at Mamina approached me and asked me, the local priest and our Church Wardens to go to Mamina Police Station because their ‘boss’ wanted to ask some questions about our Service,” the bishop said.

However, two members of the “CID based at Kadoma arrived in the company of their superior with orders from the Mashonaland West Province to investigate us,” the bishop said, taking the bishop, his wife and churchwardens to the police station for questioning.

“Although they said we were not under arrest, technically we were because we now had to have a policeman with us all the time,” Bishop Gandiya said, noting that after interrogation, he was told he was being “charged with ‘contempt of Supreme Court Orders’ that barred us from holding our church service on premises controlled by Dr Kunonga.”

The bishop protested the service had been held at a school unaffiliated with Dr. Kunonga or the Diocese of Harare.  It had allowed the bishop to use its facilities as a worship venue, he explained. After being held at the station for the rest of the day, the bishop, his wife and the churchwardens were released “late at night pending further investigations.”

“Why are we being harassed like this,” the bishop asked the police commissioner.  “Are we second class citizens in the land of our birth? Like any other citizen of this country we expect equal protection by the law enforcement agents of our Republic,” Bishop Gandiya said.

Police preemptive strike against Zimbabwe Anglicans: The Church of England Newspaper, January 13, 2012 p 6. January 16, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Zimbabwe.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Zimbabwe police broke up a clergy conference held by the Anglican Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland last week in order to prevent supporters of breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga from breaking up the meeting.

A police spokesman said the raid on the Anglican clergy conference was a “proactive” measure, taken to prevent a breach of public order. Oliver Mandipaka told the DPA news agency the police were concerned that supporters of Dr Kunonga might seek to break up the Anglican meeting.

“Judging from past experiences, these meetings have turned violent. It was on that basis that we advised them to disperse,” Mr Mandipaka explained. “Weddings and churches do not need police clearances,” he added, “but in the past these groups have clashed after gathering at the same venue. That is what we wanted to avoid.”

On 3 January police raided the conference led by Dr Chad Gandiya and Dr Julius Makoni at Peterhouse School in Marondera and ordered the clergy to leave. The raid prompted protests from the bishops, and on 4 January, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town called on President Robert Mugabe to ensure the police allowed “the churches freedom of assembly and worship.”

The Southern African Archbishop also called for an end to the tyranny of the Mugabe regime. “The forthcoming season of Epiphany speaks of our hope that the incarnate Christ breaks all boundaries,” Archbishop Makgoba said, “and that he will ultimately break the power of President Mugabe and those of his supporters who carry out these deeds, and bring freedom to Zimbabwe.”

On the same day, approximately 100 miles to the east at St Augustine’s Mission School in Mutare, Dr Kunonga gathered approximately 200 of clergy for a retreat of their own.

At his gathering, the breakaway bishop pledged his undying support for President Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party, and denounced the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions and the Anglican Church as being stooges of an international gay conspiracy that sought to destroy Zimbabwe.

Dr Kunonga said his support for the Zimbabwe strongman was founded upon moral principles. “We are not choosing man, but principles and values they embody.”

President Mugabe was the man “who is fighting against homosexuality, who is giving people land,” Dr Kunonga said, according to extracts of his speech published in the government-backed Harare Herald.

“Those politicians and churchmen who are calling for the imposition of sanctions, propagating for the inclusion of gay rights in the new constitution, and are refusing to see life, are an embodiment of evil. During elections we will reject them. We will reject death,” the former Anglican bishop said.

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

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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.

Kunonga priest jailed for rape: The Church of England Newspaper, December 23, 2011 p 6. December 27, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England Newspaper, Zimbabwe.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, has been castigated by a Zimbabwe criminal court judge for providing a false alibi for a priest convicted of rape.

On 12 December 2011 magistrate Simon Kachambwa sentenced the Rev. Thomas Muchadeyi to a term of 10 years imprisonment for the 2006 rape of a 13-year old parishioner.

Mr. Muchadeyi was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl from his congregation whom he had been counseling after the death of her mother.  The abuse was discovered when the girl reported sick to the nurse at her school, who reported evidence of abuse to school officials.

The clergyman told the court he was innocent of the charges, and that the victim’s father had concocted the charges.  However, the judge rejected priest’s claims saying the prosecution’s case “was never shaken and all the essential elements of the offence were proved beyond a reasonable doubt, pointing the accused as a perpetrator.”

According to local press accounts, the magistrate also took the Anglican Church to task for providing a false alibi for Mr. Muchadeyi.  “In my view, it was all intended to promote and baptise evil, what a shameful act by the church,” he said.

However, an account of the trial printed by the government-backed Harare Herald that said Mr. Muchadeyi had the support of Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Anglican Diocese of Harare was false, Bishop Gandiya told The Church of England Newspaper, as were suggestions by other newspapers the trial was politically motivated.

“We don’t think the judgment was in anyway politically motivated,” Bishop Gandiya said, noting the reports were “very misleading in not specifying which Anglican Church corroborated his alibi.”

The rape took place in 2006, when Dr. Kunonga was still the Anglican Bishop of Harare.  “It is Kunonga or his people who corroborated his alibi. This, Thomas [Muchadeyi] told me himself. So it is not our Anglican church. We did not interfere at all,” he said.

“We are very sad and disturbed that this happened and we pray for Fr Muchadeyi and his family as well as the victim and her family,” Bishop Gandiya said.

Student walk-out in protest of Dr Kunonga: The Church of England Newspaper, December 9, 2011 7. December 9, 2011

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St David's Girls High School in Bonda, Zimbabwe

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Several hundred students from St David’s Girls High School in Bonda, in the Diocese of Manicaland, went on strike last week in protest to the mismanagement of their school by the breakaway bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

However, Dr Kunonga has defended his stewardship of church schools, saying they remain the best performing academic institutions in Zimbabwe.

St David’s Girls High School was founded in 1961 by the sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete – an Anglican order with a mother house at St Hilda’s Priory, Sneaton Castle, Whitby. In 1977 the school was turned over to the diocese and is the largest church-affiliated school in north-eastern Zimbabwe. However, the management of the school has been taken over by the former Bishop of Manicaland, Elson Jakazi – an ally of Dr Kunonga.

Bishop Jakazi and his supporters are alleged to have diverted funds and used the school’s assets for their own use, critics in Zimbabwe tell The Church of England Newspaper. Bishop Jakazi did not respond to a request for comments.

NewsDay reported that a large portion of the school’s 950 students walked out on 21 November 2011 in protest to the school’s overcrowded dormitories and “plummeting [academic] standards.” They had planned to walk 40 kilometres to the home of a former headmaster to “air their grievances that included alleged poor quality of food, sexual harassment and interference by Kunonga’s faction in the school’s affairs.”

They got as far as the Nyamadzi River before buses sent by the school fetched the girls home.

On 9 November 2011 Dr Kunonga released a statement defending his management of church schools. Anglican Mission schools “have always been among the best performing schools in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The breakaway bishop rejected claims that standards had fallen, noting that Anglican schools have “always maintained high pass rates” and that institutions like St David’s in Bonda “are always envied by parents for their academic excellence. We challenge the [Church of the Province of Central Africa] or any other interested parties, to desist from making wild claims for the purposes of tarnishing other people’s images.”

He dismissed claims that he had appointed unqualified teachers and administrators, noting they were under the oversight of the Ministry of Education. “In the event that teachers violate Mission statutes, they cannot in any way be dismissed by the Church, as the Church is not their employer. They are referred back to the Ministry of Education. There is, therefore, nothing sinister about the Church referring back to the Ministry teachers who refuse to work together with the responsible authority for the development of the school.”

Dr Kunonga added that he does “not appoint teachers or headmasters” but only makes recommendations to the Ministry of Education. The claim that he had appointed his “stooges to be teachers and or headmasters only make sense to those who are not familiar with policies of the Ministry of Education in Zimbabwe.”

Rowan Williams is a liar, Dr. Kunonga charges: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2011 p 7. November 27, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is responsible for the pain felt by the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga has declared.

In a statement released in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s tour of Zimbabwe last month, the former Bishop of Harare denied charges he was leading a campaign of violence and intimidation against loyal Anglicans.  The Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) had “deliberately lied to the President of Zimbabwe and the entire world at the instruction of their troubled Rowan Williams.”

Dr. Williams “has come and gone”, Dr. Kunonga said, and his passing has gone unnoticed as the problems dividing the church remain.  “This is chiefly because the Archbishop is responsible for problems rocking the church, not only in Zimbabwe, but the worldwide Anglican Communion,” he charged.

On 10 Oct 2011, Dr. Williams presented a dossier to President Robert Mugabe chronicling the oppression of Zimbabwe’s Anglicans at the hands of the security services and thugs in the pay of the breakaway bishop.  Accompanied by the Archbishops of Southern Africa, Central Africa and Tanzania Dr. Williams urged President Mugabe to halt the attacks.

In a statement released after their meeting, the archbishops said the dossier “gives a full account of the abuses to which our people and our church has been subject. We have asked, in the clearest possible terms, that the President use his powers as Head of State to put an end to all unacceptable and illegal behaviour.”

In his rebuttal, Dr. Kunonga questioned the veracity of the charges.  “It boggles the mind why Zimbabwean bishops would wait for so long to appraise their own President of the alleged ‘abuses’ and ‘persecution’,” he declared, arguing that the delay in informing the president constituted an admission the charges were false.

The breakaway bishop said he was the victim of a campaign of harassment.  The “CPCA is well known for their love of litigation,” he said, and had “dragged Bishop Kunonga to court on numerous occasions on fabricated and petty charges.”

Dr. Kunonga charged the dossier and Dr. Williams visit to Zimbabwe was part of a wider political scheme to destabilize the Mugabe regime.  They were “well calculated moves to provide a world stage to demonise Zimbabwe, targeting the judicial system and the security forces. The so called ‘litany of abuses’ is nothing but brilliant fiction. Interestingly, their unsubstantiated claims and allegations are very similar in word and fashion, to those made by some political players in Zimbabwe.”

He recounted his disputes with the CPCA noting that he had been proclaimed innocent during an ecclesiastical trial that investigated him for theft, heresy and attempted murder.  No verdict was returned in the 2005 trial, the Church of England Newspaper reported at the time, as the judge adjourned the proceedings after the witnesses declined to return to Zimbabwe for fear of their lives.  The other claims made by the breakaway bishop about the status of his legal cases and his role in the campaign of violence and intimidation waged against loyal Anglicans cannot be reconciled with reports received from the diocese by CEN over the past 12 years.

Dr. Kunonga also claimed the Zimbabwe courts had confirmed him in his position as Bishop of Harare and trustee of the church’s properties.  However, the courts have not ruled on this point and have only given him temporary custody of the church properties pending a final adjudication.

He also denied barring Anglicans from their churches.  “Churches are always open. Those who choose to worship under trees, in classrooms or in bushes do that in their own volition,” he declared.

He also denied having ordered the murder of an 80-year old woman “because she belonged to CPCA.”  What reason would he have to order that murder and “spare the likes of [Bishops] Bakare and Gandiya,” he asked.

Harare’s Anglicans had only themselves to blame for “clashing with the Police, because they always choose to ignore court orders. When the police intervene to enforce court orders, they cry foul. They claim harassment and persecution when in fact, they are persecuting themselves by refusing to accept any court ruling against them.”

Dr. Kunonga argued the CPCA were hypocrites.  “For them, the rule of law only applies where their interests are concerned. The courts are competent only when they win. The police are impartial when they do their wishes rather than enforce court orders.”

By bringing his crimes to the notice of the president, Dr. Williams and the CPCA were asking Robert Mugabe to “violate the rule of law which they preach so much when white interests are concerned.”

He called upon the CPCA and the Anglican Communion to “repent, be responsible and retract their shameful request. They took Bishop Kunonga to the courts and should therefore abide with court rulings and stop seeking political interference in matters that are before the courts.”

Harare court halts purge of Anglican teachers: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 21, 2011 p 6. October 22, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Education has ordered the immediate reinstatement of church school staff fired by breakaway bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga. The 13 Oct 2011 government order comes in the wake of a court ruling which held the dismissal of the staff at the Daramombe Mission was unlawful.

Last month the deputy sheriff, acting on a writ obtained by Dr. Kunonga in the drawn out dispute over the control of church property in Zimbabwe, evicted the head teachers of the mission’s primary and secondary schools and 12 other staffers, including the tuck shop steward.  Located in the Mashonaland East Province some 120 miles south of Harare, the mission school was destroyed in fighting during the war against white rule. Over the past decade it was rebuilt and is now one of the leading schools in the region.

In an interview published in The Zimbabwean, Harare Diocesan Secretary, the Rev. Clifford Dzavo, said the Anglican Church had so far lost 90 churches and 70 rectories valued at over $50 million to Dr. Kunonga.  The breakaway bishop has also sought to take over the church’s schools, orphanages and hospitals, diverting their income to his own use.

The Harare diocese filed suit last month, asking the court to block the staff firings, arguing a lower court order granting temporary possession of the properties could not be construed to allow Dr. Kunonga to fire state teachers. On 12 Oct 2011 Harare High Court Justice Chinembiri Bhunu held the breakaway bishop had gone too far.

“It is a fundamental rule of law that no one shall be evicted or dispossessed without due process of law and without being heard. The need to hear the other side before making any determination affecting the rights of another is the bedrock upon which our legal system is founded,” the court held.

“It follows” Justice Bhunu said, the lower court “did not mean that [Dr. Kunonga] could evict and dismiss employees without recourse to due process of the law.

“The evictions of members of the School Development Committee from premises they previously occupied in terms of their respective contracts of employment were therefore, illegal and not permissible at law though they were carried out through the auspices of the Deputy Sheriff,” the judge ruled.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party’s national executive council also issued a statement in support of the diocese last week.

The MDC faction led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai released a statement on 12 Oct saying: “Churches have ceased to be a place of worship and spiritual solitude but have become havens of political patronage and violence. The Anglican Church community has, since 2007, been traumatized as the police and Zanu (PF) continue to side with a group loyal to renegade Bishop Nolbert Kunonga to destabilise parishes and ordinary people.”

Zimbabwe court victory for Anglican Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 21, 2011 p 6. October 22, 2011

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Locked out bishops praying before the doors of St John's Cathedral, Mutare Zimbabwe

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A Zimbabwe High Court has threatened a breakaway bishop with contempt, telling former Bishop Elzon Jakazi that if he does not turn over a contested church to the Bishop of Manicaland, Dr Julius Makoni, he will be imprisoned for contempt.

The 10 October decision came the same day as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, toured the eastern Zimbabwe diocese. A statement from the Archbishop’s office about the trip noted that Manicaland was “an area where Anglicans have suffered a high proportion of the persecution in Zimbabwe, so the Archbishop’s visit provided an opportunity to show the people there that they have not been forgotten.”

Speaking to members of the Diocese of Manicaland gathered at a Mutare sports ground, Dr Williams said he and the Archbishops of Southern Africa and Tanzania had come to Mutare “to see the real Church – and that is the Church that prays and loves and suffers. And, in all of that, we from the Anglican Communion stand with you and share your witness and give thanks for it.”

We share in your suffering,” Dr Williams said, “and we share in your joy also. And we give thanks that you show us what faith is and we pray that God will give you the strength, day after day, to go on showing us God’s power, God’s grace and God’s work.”

When the archiepiscopal party visited St John’s Cathedral in Mutare, they were met by a crowd of Bishop Jakazi supporters, who blocked their entrance to the cathedral. “The group then formed in a circle outside the Cathedral door to pray for an end to the violence and persecution,” Dr Williams’ office reported.

While the bishops were in Mutare, the High Court handed down an order directing Bishop Jakazi to vacate All Saints Church in Zimunya. In 2007 Bishop Jakazi was excommunicated by the Church of the Province of Central Africa after he quit the church to join Dr Kunonga’s Anglican Church of Zimbabwe. While he renounced his allegiance to the Church, he did not turn over the Church’s properties to his successors, and the diocese has fought to regain control of its lands.

In August, a district court ordered Bishop Jakazi and three confederates to turn over All Saints Church to the Bishop of Manicaland, Dr Julius Makoni.

Last week High Court Justice Tendai Uchena issued an order to “the respondents — Jakazi, Maupa, Ndlovu and Katanga” who “herein are ordered to restore forthwith to the Anglicans possession, control and use of the All Saints Anglican Zimunya Church.” If they failed to comply with the order the four would be jailed at Chikurubi Prison for contempt, the judge said.

Dr Makoni told CEN “We are delighted to have won back All Saints Zimunya. I shall cleanse and rededicate the church building this Sunday.”

He noted the “Judge’s ruling was clear, cogent and straightforward and referred to no external influence directly or indirectly. The Archbishop [of Canterbury]‘s visit had nothing to do with the case. We need to give credit [to the courts] where it is due.”

Zimbabwe Court denounces political interference in the Kunonga affair: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 p 7. October 16, 2011

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Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Chief Justice of Zimbabwe has lashed out against the Anglican Diocese of Harare, accusing it of trying to circumvent the courts by appealing to political leaders to resolve its dispute with breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

On 1 October the state-run Harare Herald reported that Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had “blasted” the Anglican diocese for interfering with the independence of the judiciary.

The Herald reported the former Bishop of Harare, the Rt Rev Peter Hatendi, wrote to the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, on 23 September urging the government to remove Judge Chidyausiku from the case.

“The Church of the Province of Central Africa has made a Constitutional appeal against the judgment of Chief Justice Chidyausiku dated 4 August, 2011 in chambers and requested him to recuse himself.”

Bishop Hatendi’s letter, the Herald said, asked the justice minister to “assist in the processing of the appeal.”

“My successor Dr Nolbert Kunonga grabbed both the old and the new structures when he resigned in 2007,” Bishop Hatendi wrote. “Where is commutative justice to be found save in our courts of law? I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible, please,” he was alleged to have written.

On 28 September, Judge Chidyausiku instructed the registrar of the Supreme Court to inform the attorneys for the parties of his displeasure with Bishop Hatendi. “In view of the persistent attempts by the litigants in this matter, in particular the [Church of the Province of Central Africa], to try and influence the outcome of this matter outside the judicial process, no further applications will be entertained from either party except in open court.”

“The issues set out above can only be determined by the Supreme Court. I accordingly take great exception to conduct undermining the independence of the judicial process by seeking political intervention in judicial matters,” the letter said.

CEN was unable to reach Bishop Hatendi to confirm whether the allegations made by the Herald were true. However, Judge Chidyausika has asked that all of the Anglican cases before the court be consolidated for his adjudication.

“The issues set out above can only be determined by the Supreme Court. I accordingly take great exception to conduct undermining the independence of the judicial process by seeking political intervention in judicial matters,” the letter said.

“Faithful” of Harare lauded by Canterbury: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 p 1. October 14, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the “faith and endurance” of the Anglicans of Zimbabwe in the face of persecution by “false brethren,” calling their witness an inspiration to the world.

Dr. Rowan Williams – accompanied by the primates of Central Africa, South Africa, Tanzania, and the bishops of Zimbabwe and Botswana — received an enthusiastic greeting on Oct 9 from approximately 15,000 Anglicans packed into a sports arena in Harare.  Across town outside the city’s Anglican cathedral, occupied by supporters of breakaway bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, pickets denounced the archbishop with signs labeling him a colonialist and supporter of homosexuality.

One member of the congregation (who for safety reasons cannot be named) told CEN he was overjoyed by the archbishop’s visit, writing that Dr. Williams’ presence gave encouragement to the Harare’s embattled Anglicans.

God’s “purpose is justice: not an abstract idea of fairness, but a situation where every person has the fulfilment God desires for them, without interference from others,” Dr. Williams told the congregation, taking as his text Matt 22:10-11.

Addressing the persecution suffered by Anglicans at the hands of Dr. Kunonga’s supporters, the archbishop said, “You know very well, dear brothers and sisters, what it means to have doors locked in your faces by those who claim the name of Christians and Anglicans. You know how those who by their greed and violence have refused the grace of God try to silence your worship and frustrate your witness in the churches and schools and hospitals of this country.”

Yet in the midst of this oppression, the will of God “is so strong that it can triumph even over these mindless and Godless assaults. Just as the Risen Jesus breaks through the locked doors of fear and suspicion, so he continues to call you and empower you in spite of all efforts to defeat you,” the archbishop said.

The assaults upon the church had taught Zimbabwe’s Anglicans “that it is not the buildings that make a true church but the spiritual foundations on which your lives are built,” he said, urging them to hold fast.

Touching upon Zimbabwe’s turbulent history, he noted that “for a long period in this country, an anxious ruling class clung on to the power they had seized at the expense of the indigenous people and ignored their rights and their hopes for dignity and political freedom. How tragic that this should be replaced by another kind of lawlessness, where so many live in daily fear of attack if they fail to comply with what the powerful require of them.”

The faithful Christians of Zimbabwe were a model to the world, Dr. Williams said.  “Day by day, you have to face injustice and the arrogance of ‘false brethren’,” he said.

“Yet you must know that we give thanks to God for you – for your patience and generosity and endurance. Your life here is tortured by uncertainty and the constant risk of attack, yet it speaks to all of us in the worldwide Communion of the victory of Jesus Christ and the undefeated will of God to welcome people into his Kingdom and to seat them at the table of his Son so that we can celebrate the marriage of heaven and earth in the fleshly life and death and resurrection of the Lord,” the archbishop said.

Dr. Kunonga attacks Canterbury on eve of Zimbabwe visit: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 7, 2011 p 7. October 7, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The former Bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, has launched a pre-emptive strike against the Archbishop of Canterbury the weekend before Dr Williams’ visit to Zimbabwe.

At a press conference on 30 September, Dr Kunonga denounced Dr Williams as a political interloper who would attempt to re-colonise Zimbabwe during his 5-13 October trip to Central Africa.

“The Anglican Church is a political organisation when it is in England,” he told reporters. “Rowan William was appointed by the Queen and the Prime Minister and he is a civil servant of Britain. In a political and economic environment, the civil servant represents and symbolises with his State.

“He is a diplomat like [US Ambassador] Charles Ray. He is coming to represent neo-colonialism. He is coming to lobby for homosexuality and for him it is a timely move as we are making our constitution.”

In 2007 Dr Kunonga quit as Bishop of Harare in the Church of the Province of Central Africa and formed his own Anglican Church of Zimbabwe. With the support of the security services and sympathetic judges, he has gained control over church properties in the diocese and has announced his intention to seize all Anglican property in Zimbabwe.

The dispute between Dr Kunonga and the Anglican Diocese of Harare is currently before the country’s Supreme Court. However in an interim ruling issued in August, the court gave Dr Kunonga custody of church properties pending a final decision.

Dr Kunonga told reporters he would never compromise with Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Anglican Communion. “There is one diocese, one bishop and one throne, not two,” he said, adding the dispute was political. “I am fighting the British, and not any of you, black Zimbabweans when you are also poor and continue being trampled upon,” Dr Kunonga said.

“I will not be silenced, nobody silences a true bishop,” he said.

On 1 October the Diocese of Harare released a statement saying Dr Williams’ “visit is to show support to Anglicans in Zimbabwe in the face of on-going persecution at the hands of an ex-communicated man who has nothing else to do than focus his attention on destroying what generations of Anglicans built using their own resources.”

The diocese has requested a meeting with President Robert Mugabe for Dr Williams, but a spokesman for Lambeth Palace on 4 October told CEN that no response had so far been given.

Court and government will not intervene in the Kunonga dispute: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 30, 2011 p 6. October 5, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A Harare high court judge has dismissed a petition to halt the expulsion of Anglican clergy from their homes and the seizure of church run schools and orphanages by breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

On 23 September, Judge Tendai Uchena rejected the petition filed on behalf of the Church of the Province of Central Africa and Bishop Chad Gandiya saying he would not rule on the matter as Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had jurisdiction over the case.

Last month Chief Justice Chidyausiku signed an order in chambers that pending a final ruling on the property dispute, custody of the buildings would remain with Dr Kunonga’s faction. While the order attempted to preserve the status quo, the ruling has been used by Dr Kunonga to seize more property.

Justice Chidyausiku was expected to rule on the province’s petition to halt the evictions last week, but has yet to hand down an order.

A spokesman for Dr Kunonga, Bishop Alfred Munyani told the Voice of America that Bishop Gandiya’s group was the source of the troubles. “They are the ones who say there is no rule of law, now the courts have ruled but they keep on launching one court application after the other,” said Bishop Munyanyi. “They should just abandon that and come back to church.”

Supporters of the Anglican diocese have asked the Zimbabwean government to intervene in the dispute, citing the seizure of the Arthur Shearly Cripps Home, a church-run orphanage.

In a question to the Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Lazarus Dokora, Zengeza West MP Collen Gwiyo asked the “minister to explain government policy with regard to church disputes that are now interfering with classes, in particular there is a faction led by Bishop Kunonga of the Anglican Church which has actually affected the education system.”

Mr Dokora (ZANU-PF) responded that “when a matter is before the courts or a judgment is in the course of being implemented, the less we speak about it, the less we interfere with that process, the safer for all of us.”

Home invasion in Harare: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 16, 2011 p 8. September 21, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Harare was the victim of a home invasion last week, after four men entered his home on the evening of 8 September, robbing the bishop and his wife.

It is unclear whether the thefts were politically motivated. Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Church of the Province of Central Africa have been locked in a violent struggle with former bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga, an ally of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF Party, over the control of church assets.

The assault comes amidst continuing waves of political violence in the Central Africa country. On 1 September, Colin Zietsman, one of the country’s few remaining white commercial farmers, was murdered on his Centenary Farm in Mashonaland Central’s Centenary district.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, (MDC) released a statement on 10 September reporting that in the latest instance of political intimidation, two of its members had been hospitalized “after they were abducted and assaulted by Zanu-PF hooligans.”

Harare police spokesman Inspector James Sabau offered the known facts on the attack on the Bishop in a statement printed by Newsday. “The complainant [Bishop Chad Gandiya] was confronted by four people who entered his home through an unlocked lounge room door armed with stones, knives and machetes.

“They ordered the complainant and his family to lie down and they complied. The robbers then asked for money and they were given $600.”

The thieves ransacked the house, taking three laptop computers, four mobile phones and jewellery, the police said and “then locked the complainant and his family in the bathroom.”

The Bishop was able to free himself and reported the thefts to the Marlborough Police Station.

The police statement noted: “We are having problems of both plain and armed robberies. They are entering through unlocked doors between 6pm and 9pm. “That is the new trend that is there now and we urge people to lock their doors all the time to avoid robberies, especially in the low density suburbs.”

In an email to supporters, Bishop Gandiya reported that the thieves “threatened to kill us if we did not give them money. They searched my son’s bedroom and ours for money and any valuables they could get. They literally trashed our bedroom. They took my laptop and my son’s two laptops and all our cell phones.”

“We rejoice and thank God that none of us were hurt. We simply did what they told us to do,” the Bishop said, but added he was “very suspicious of this robbery. It seems what they were after were just the laptops and phones. I am a little challenged in as far as communication is concerned at the moment. Although we are afflicted in every way, we are not crushed and we do not lose hope.”

Orphanage seized by Dr. Kunonga: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 16, 2011 p 8. September 21, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Orphanages, convents and mission hospitals are the latest church facilities to be seized by the breakaway bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

On 11 September, sheriff’s deputies accompanied by supporters of Dr Kunonga ejected the staff of the Arthur Shearly Cripps Children’s Home — an orphanage 100 kilometres south of Harare in Chikwaka. Three nursing sisters were ordered to leave the premises immediately, while the five other staff were given 24 hours notice to vacate the property.

It is not known who will now care for the more than 100 orphans living at the facility.

The matron at the orphanage, Sister Dorothy Makwarimba told Newsday: “The messenger of court ordered us to move out immediately. He had court papers which said the property now belongs to Kunonga and since we are refusing to worship under his diocese, we had to go,” she said.

The notice of ejectment dated 6 September, 2011 signed by the Deputy Sheriff for Murewa, ordered the sisters to leave the orphanage and the Convent of the Sisters of the Blessed Lady Mary, and also ordered the priest at the neighbouring St John’s Church to turn that property over to Dr Kunonga.

Attorneys from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on 9 September filed an emergency motion asking the notice of ejectment be stayed. A hearing before Justice Tendai Uchena will be held on 14 September to consider their motion.

On 4 August, Zimbabwe Supreme Court Chief Justice Chidyausiku gave an order in chambers that gave custody of the buildings to Dr Kunonga’s faction pending the final adjudication of the lawsuit over their ownership.

While the order attempted to preserve the status quo, the ruling has been used by Dr Kunonga to evict clergy from their vicarages — which had so far remained under the control of the Anglican Church — and now orphanages.

On 24 August lawyers for the diocese filed an appeal with the Zimbabwe Supreme Court asking for an en banc review of the chief justice’s order.

Diocesan lawyers argued that the chief justice’s ruling violated the rules of judicial procedure. They asked the full court to mark the order “null and void” and to preserve the status quo pending a final resolution of the dispute.

African call to excommunicate those who enter into a gay marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 16, 2011 p 6. September 20, 2011

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Bishop James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglicans who contract same-sex marriages or gay civil unions will be excommunicated, the Bishop of Harare said this week.  His remarks come as church leaders in Central Africa denied charges leveled by the breakaway bishop of Harare that the Church of the Province of Central Africa had endorsed the “pro-gay” agenda of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada.

In a statement released on Sept 9, Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare said his diocese conformed its teaching to the Bible.  “Whatever the Church believes in and does is therefore within the confines of the Bible, and not informed by human standards and speculation,” Dr. Gandiya said.

Bishop James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi told reporters the Malawian church had no truck with the new teachings on human sexuality.  .

In an interview with the Malawi Sunday Times published on Sept 11, Bishop Tengatenga, the Dean of the Anglican Church of Malawi and chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, also denied the Archbishop of Canterbury had changed the Anglican Communion’s teachings on homosexuality.

Bishop Tengatenga defended Dr. Williams, who visits Malawi in October to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the church in Central Africa, explaining the archbishop’s private views were distinct from his public pronouncements.  “The Anglican Church hasn’t changed, yes we are against homosexuality and Williams does not approve of the consecration of gay bishops,” he said. “The church’s position and an individual’s are two different things.”

The Anglican dioceses in Malawi remained “totally against homosexuality,” he told the Sunday Times.

The Harare press statement said it followed the province’s teaching that “Marriage is between a man and woman” and “should be monogamous, one man, one wife and one woman, one husband.”

“Any marriage institution outside this arrangement is not recognised, solemnised or blessed by the Diocese and any individuals indulging in such unions may be subject to various forms of Church censure, including ex-communication, once discovered.”

Dr. Gandiya said the breakaway bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga’s claims “to know of the existence of homosexuality within [the] ranks” of the church was specious.  “Kunonga and his coterie of followers only started mentioning this after realising that they will never have easy access to Church funds and other significant resources, and so devised a scenario that prepared him for his departure from the Anglican Communion, using homosexuality as a smokescreen.”

Dr. Kunonga’s fixation with homosexuality caused Dr. Gandiya to wonder “whether it is not a problem haunting his own conscience, and by extension his newly formed religious institution. If this is the situation, Kunonga cannot continue to ignore it and it is time he addresses his own problem without dragging other people into it.”

“The CPCA is saddened that Kunonga has constantly fed wrong, malicious and misleading information to the structures of the Government of Zimbabwe, and the media, about the correct situation in the Anglican Church regarding homosexuality. What he has sought to do is to gain political mileage out of a non-issue among genuine Anglicans,” Dr. Gandiya said.

“Our position” he said “is clear that we do not tolerate homosexuality at all costs and we do not intend to compromise on this,” the bishop said noting that the arguments that “homosexuality has been accepted elsewhere within the Anglican Communion are irrelevantand have no place in our Zimbabwe context.”

Kunonga seizes hospital: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 16, 2011 p 8. September 20, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Masvingo has come under legal assault from the breakaway bishop of Harare. With the backing of the police, Dr Nolbert Kunonga has evicted the clergy and staff of a mission hospital and school belonging to the neighbouring diocese.

In an interview with the state-run Harare Herald, Dr Kunonga said the seizure of the Daramombe Mission near Chivhu, was only the start as he planned on grabbing all of the assets of the Church of the Province of Central Africa in Zimbabwe.

In an email to the bishops of the province, the Bishop of Masvingo, the Rt Rev Godfrey Tawonezvi reported that a nurse on the staff of the Daramombe hospital had informed the director of the facility she recognized Dr Kunonga as the rightful owner of the church facility. The breakaway bishop had appointed her head nurse of the hospital, she said.

On 31 May, “the Bishop, Priest in Charge, and clinic staff had a meeting at the clinic to discuss some administrative issues.” Bishop Tawonezvi said. He spoke to the Kunonga nurse, telling her that “her services were no longer required at Daramombe mission. Our conversation with her did not even last a minute.” The Ministry of Health then transferred her to another facility.

The following day police arrested the hospital’s priest in charge and head nurse, and charged them with having made an “indecent assault” upon the Kunonga nurse. Bishop Tawonezvi was summoned to the police station on 3 June to answer questions about the alleged assault. And at the end of June the Ministry of Health rescinded its transfer order and sent the Kunonga nurse back to Daramombe.

Last week, the Rev Muyengwa Murombedzi, the Daramombe school headmaster, primary school headmistress and senior nursing staff were evicted from the mission hospital and school — many of whose furnishings were donated by the Diocese of Southwark. Acting upon a 4 August Supreme Court judgment that gave custody of the property to Bishop Kunonga, the Deputy Sheriff ordered the staff to leave.

Bishop Tawonezvi has gone to court to stop the evictions. He told the Herald: “They are using the Supreme Court judgment to destabilise the mission. I am the Bishop of Masvingo under which Daramombe falls and this judgment has nothing to do with our diocese. Kunonga wants to take advantage of the judgment to cause confusion.

“Kunonga and his thugs always resort to lies and criminal activities,” Bishop Tawonezvi wrote to the bishops of Central Africa. “We will continue to resist efforts by Kunonga to take over the Daramombe mission. We are grateful for your prayers.”

Cry for help from Harare: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 9, 2011 p 8. September 15, 2011

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Bishop Chad Gandiya

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Harare has sent a distress signal to supporters in the West following the arrest of one of his clergymen on what he says are trumped up charges of theft.

Dr Chad Gandiya’s 6 September email, entitled “SOS – Prayer”, gives an “urgent prayer request for the clergy of the Diocese of Harare CPCA and in particular for the Rev Julius Zimbudzana and his family.”

“As I write this email Fr Julius, our priest at St Mary’s Parish in Highlands, Harare is in police custody having been arrested this morning. The charge is that of theft of church property worth US$1.5 million!!!!! This is very strange indeed as no parish in our diocese (perhaps the exception is the Cathedral Parish) has properties worth that much. He has been refused bail. The police claim they have clear instructions not to release him,” the Bishop wrote.

Last month the Diocese filed an appeal against the order of Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku giving breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga custody of the diocesan properties. On 4 August, Chief Justice Chidyausiku signed an order in chambers permitting the Diocese of Harare to maintain its lawsuit defending its ownership of the properties. However, the judge also ordered that pending a final ruling, custody of the buildings would remain with Dr Kunonga’s faction.

While the order attempted to preserve the status quo, where the diocese’s churches were held by Dr Kunonga, the ruling was used by Dr Kunonga to evict clergy from their vicarages — which had so far remained under the control of the Anglican Church.

On 24 August Dr Gandiya reported that Dr Kunonga’s henchmen were forcibly evicting clergy from their livings. “I have just spoken with our priest at St Matthew’s Church in Chinhoyi a few minutes ago who informed me that he had just come from hospital where he was attended to by a doctor on duty because of beatings in the head he received early this evening from Kunonga’s priest and a thug,” the Bishop wrote.

The Rev Jonah Mudowaya was beaten after he “refused to vacate the church house. He has made a report of the incident to the Chinhoyi police. This is an alarming development taking place because of the latest interim judgment given by the Chief Justice.

“Elsewhere in places like Highfield, Kunonga’s priests broke into church houses. In other places they have gone in the company of the police in order to intimidate our priests into vacating the houses but our priests have insisted on them producing court eviction orders and the presence of messengers of Court and thankfully the police have not forced the evictions,” Bishop Gandiya said.

The tempo of violence and intimidation has increased, Dr Gandiya wrote on 6 September. “Kunonga’s priests are after whatever property we have. Our lawyers are busy trying to stop this madness.

“My priests are greatly traumatised by these sad developments,” the Bishop said, adding that he had “spent all afternoon trying to see Fr Julius. We are praying that he is brought before the court tomorrow in the hope that justice will be done. Please pray with us.”

Anglican Unscripted, Sept 10, 2011 September 11, 2011

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This week’s episode of Anglican Unscripted looks back at 9/11, discusses the recent developments in Zimbabwe and explores the Church of Nigeria’s response to the ‘heresy’ of the prosperity gospel.

http://blip.tv/play/g5IjgtKcJwI.htmlhttp://a.blip.tv/api.swf#g5IjgtKcJwI

Harare eviction order appealed: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 2, 2011 September 7, 2011

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Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Harare has appealed the ruling by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku that gives breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga custody of all of its church properties.

The 4 August order has also unleashed a new campaign of violence, with one priest reported as having been badly beaten by supporters of Dr Kunonga when they attempted to eject him from his vicarage.

On 4 August, Chief Justice Chidyausiku handed down an order in chambers permitting the Diocese of Harare to maintain its lawsuit against Dr Kunonga and to defend its ownership of its churches. However, the judge also ordered that pending a final ruling custody of the buildings would remain with Dr Kunonga’s faction.

“For the avoidance of doubt,” a lower court judgment that awarded custody to Dr Kunonga “will not be suspended by the noting of an appeal against it,” Chief Justice Chidyausiku held.

While the order was intended to preserve the status quo, where the Diocese’s churches were held by Dr Kunonga, the ruling has been used to evict Anglican clergy from their vicarages — which had so far remained under the control of the Anglican diocese.

In a 24 August email to supporters Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya, reported that Dr Kunonga’s henchmen were using force to evict clergy from their livings. “I have just spoken with our priest at St Matthew’s Church in Chinhoyi a few minutes ago who informed me that he had just come from hospital where he was attended to by a doctor on duty because of beatings in the head he received early this evening from Kunonga’s priest and a thug,” the Bishop wrote.

The Rev Jonah Mudowaya was beaten after he “refused to vacate the church house. He has made a report of the incident to the Chinhoyi police. This is an alarming development taking place because of the latest interim judgment given by the Chief Justice.”

“Elsewhere in places like Highfield, Kunonga’s priests broke into church houses. In other places they have gone in the company of the police in order to intimidate our priests into vacating the houses but our priests have insisted on them producing court eviction orders and the presence of messengers of Court and thankfully the police have not forced the evictions,” Bishop Gandiya said.

On 24 August lawyers for the Diocese filed an appeal with the Zimbabwe Supreme Court asking for an en banc review of the chief justice’s order.

In their appeal, the diocesan lawyers argued that the chief justice’s ruling that the “noting of the appeal should not suspend the operation of the order” violated the rules of judicial procedure set down in Section 18 of the Zimbabwean constitution. They asked the full court to mark the order “null and void” and to preserve the status quo pending a final resolution of the dispute.

Dr Kunonga did not respond to emails asking for his view of the proceedings. However, Bishop Gandiya told CEN “we continue to cry out for justice. Please pray with us during these very difficult times in the history of our diocese.”

Mugabe meeting for Archbishop Williams: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 26, 2011, p 7. August 25, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will travel to Harare in October and will seek a meeting with Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe to plead the case for the country’s persecuted Anglicans.

Dr Williams will also visit Malawi and Zambia during his tour of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, and is expected to offer moral encouragement to the Church. President Mugabe’s office has not decided whether the country’s leader since independence will meet with Dr Williams — who has been a harsh critic of the regime.

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace confirmed “the Archbishop is visiting Zimbabwe as part of a wider trip, which will also see him visit Malawi and Zambia,” but noted the itinerary had yet to be finalised.

The Anglican Bishop of Harare, Dr Chad Gandiya has been locked in a long-running dispute with the former Bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, over the ownership of the Diocese’s properties. While the courts initially ordered the parties to share church premises pending a final adjudication of the dispute, the security services have thrown their support behind Dr Kunonga and evicted Anglicans loyal to Bishop Gandiya from church properties.

Earlier this month the country’s Supreme Court handed down an order permitting the issue of ownership of church properties to be adjudicated by the courts, but held that trusteeship of the Church’s buildings would reside with Dr Kunonga until a final order is handed down.

Zimbabwe has been an on-going issue for Dr Williams since he took office as Archbishop of Canterbury — and in 2005 was the topic of the sole interview he has granted to The Church of England Newspaper since his move to Lambeth.

In 2007 Dr Williams pressed Dr Kunonga to distance himself from the Mugabe regime during a meeting with the renegade bishop in South Africa and on 7 December, 2008 the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, called for armed intervention to end the regime.

While the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken often about the situation in Zimbabwe, he has so far declined to take any further action — apart from not inviting Dr Kunonga to the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

After Anglicans were locked out of their churches during Christmas, Dr Williams and Dr Sentamu on 27 December, 2009 released a statement saying they condemned “unequivocally any move to deny people their basic right to worship.”

The “unprovoked intimidation of worshippers by the police is completely unacceptable and indicative of the continued and persistent oppression by state instruments of those perceived to be in opposition” to the regime of strongman Robert Mugabe the Archbishops said.

On 3 February, 2009 the primates of the Anglican Communion called upon the African Union to take steps to end the crisis “due directly to the deteriorating socio-political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.”

The regime showed a “total disregard for life” and was responsible for the “systematic kidnap, torture and killing of the Zimbabwean people” they said, and asked Dr Williams to appoint a representative to Zimbabwe on behalf of the Communion, “to exercise a ministry of presence and to show solidarity with the Zimbabwean people.” In 1985 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie appointed the Rt Rev Keith Sutton, Bishop of Lichfield, as his envoy to South Africa to support the anti-apartheid campaign.

However, Dr Williams has so far declined to act upon the Primates’ request.

Anglican clergy under siege in Harare: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 19, 2011, p 7. August 23, 2011

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Bishop Chad Gandiya

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Harare writes from Zimbabwe that breakaway bishop Nolbert Kunonga begun evicting Anglican clergy from their homes.

In an Aug 15 email to supporters Bishop Chad Gandiya wrote “all our priests who were still in parish rectories have received stamped latest court judgement delivered by Kunonga’s people and in one incident they were in the company of the police. They told our priests to move out.”

The diocese and the local congregations are “busy finding alternative accommodation” for the evicted clergy, he said, adding “this is not going to be easy at all. It will disrupt their family life and ministry. I have been busy this evening getting in touch with my priests who are affected and encouraging them.”

Dr. Kunonga’s men also went to the province’s seminary “Bishop Gaul college and served the same papers to our principal Friar Joshua. They padlocked the library before they left.”

“I am very concerned about the college because our ordinands are coming back next week for their first semester and we had a full college this year. The college is not a diocese of Harare institution but belongs to all five dioceses and indeed to the province. Our registrar is going to try and bring that to the attention of the authorities later on this morning. I am concerned about our library too. If we lose the books we have that will take us back many years,” he said.

The latest move by Dr. Kunonga comes a week after the Chief Justice of the Zimbabwe Supreme Court handed down an interim order affirming a 2009 lower court decision that “gave the custodianship of the diocesan properties to Dr. Kunonga,” Bishop Gandiya said.

“To our surprise and that of everyone else, thirteen months after his promise to give judgement, the Chief Justice has now reinstated our appeal but upheld [the] Hlatshwayo judgement on the custodianship of the properties,” the bishop wrote on Aug 5.

In July 2009, High Court Justice Ben Hlatshwayo issued an order recognizing Dr. Kunonga as the Bishop of Harare and gave him custody of church properties, effectively overturning an order by Judge Rita Makarau which held the two sides should share the properties pending a final disposition of the dispute.

Justice Hlatshwayo’s order was stayed on March 3, 2010 when Justice Chinembiri Bhunu confirmed Judge Makarau’s earlier opinion.

However, on May 2, 2010 Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba ruled the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) had not followed proper legal procedures in appealing Justice Hlatshwayo’s order.   Justice Malaba wrote the fairness of the underlying ecclesiastical dispute was not at issue. The question before the court was whether the attorneys for the province had filed a proper petition for appeal.

Justice Malaba held the CPCA had not provided a bond for the costs of the appeal within the prescribed time and had failed to ask for a waiver of this requirement. The court had no recourse but to quash the province’s appeal, he said.

In last week’s ruling, the Supreme Court reinstated the province’s appeal, but affirmed in part Justice Hlatshwayo’s order giving control of the property to Dr. Kunonga.

Bishop Gandiya asked whether it was a “coincidence that this judgement is given only about a week after Dr. Kunonga had stated very clearly on national television that he was going to take all church properties?”

Dr Kunonga has been “abusing church members and misusing church properties with the support of some in the Zimbabwe Republic Police and nobody stopped him. We thought that the laws of the land would stop him but now we see the law legitimising his impunity. We have tried to engage various responsible authorities but to no avail.”

Bishop Gandiya added that Dr Kunonga was now “claiming ownership of properties that do not belong to him. This is day light robbery now with the support of the law. We continue to hope for the time when reason will prevail to the glory of God.”

“Please continue to pray for us,” the bishop wrote. “My main concern is the safety of my priests and their families. Pray that our efforts to engage the authorities succeed.”

Anglican Unscripted, Aug 19, 2011 August 21, 2011

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Anglican Unscripted for August 19th, 2011 | AnglicanTV Ministries

http://anglican.tv/content/anglican-unscripted-august-19th-2011

This week’s Anglican Unscripted is our best yet. Kevin and George discuss our wicked church history from 499 years ago. They also discuss the latest news on the Anglican Liturgy and TECs hope in making changes to the sacrament of marriage.  Plus an exclusive on Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean Churches Told to Support Ruling Party—or Else: Christianity Today, Aug 11, 2011 August 10, 2011

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First printed in Christianity Today.

Pastors and advocates report that a new wave of persecution is washing over the churches of Zimbabwe as the country prepares for a new round of elections called by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.

Churches are “being targeted and harassed by security agencies and militias which are controlled by ZANU PF,” said Marlon Zakeyo, the Zimbabwe advocacy coordinator of the World Student Christian Federation in Geneva. They are “in need of active and practical international solidarity and prayer,” he said.

Reports from the Central African nation state that leaders of many of the country’s evangelical, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and African Independent Churches—especially the Zion Christian Church and the VaPostori Apostolic sects—are being pressed into service by the regime to cement its hold on power.

While the former Anglican bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, has long used his church to back “Zimbabwe’s Moses,” ZANU PF is also alleged to have made a concerted effort to bring the Apostolic churches under its control.

Over the past two years members of the opposition party, MDC, have been expelled from many Apostolic churches, and some pastors have reportedly been killed for refusing to support the regime. TheZimbabwe Briefing, a South Africa-based publication supporting Mugabe’s ouster,reports that some Apostolic leaders aretelling their followers—estimated to number approximately 1 million—that Mugabe is the Archangel Gabriel and God’s anointed ruler for Africa.

Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) executive director Useni Sibanda has condemned the political “invasion” of the Apostolic churches, and has urged “church leaders to maintain their credibility by not allowing themselves to be manipulated by politicians.”

ZANU PF spokesman Gadzira Chirumhanzu said it was not possible for church and state to live independent lives. However, he told Christianity Today the party “does not interfere in one’s beliefs; be he Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or whatever.”

“There is no way a church can divorce itself from society, politics, or whatever,” said Chirumhanzu, the party’s director of Science and Technology. “Rules and regulations governing churches, sects, you name it are promulgated in parliament, hence I don’t see how Useni wants to achieve his organization’s objective if it does not participate in politics one way or the other.”

Churches that have opposed the ZANU PF party line have met with violent suppression. On April 20, police stormed an ecumenical prayer service held at the Church of the Nazarene in the Harare suburb of Glen Norah. Organized by evangelical leaders under the theme “Saving Zimbabwe, the Unfinished Journey,” the service commemorated a 2007 prayer service where police shot and killed an opposition leader and jailed over 100 pro-democracy activists.

video of the April incident shows that after firing tear gas into the church, police drove the congregation from the building, beating those slow to respond with truncheons. Nazarene Pastor Paul Mukome reported that ten worshippers and four pastors were arrested, while the vice-chairman of the Harare MDC was severely beaten.

A Roman Catholic priest told The Tablet, a U.K.-based Catholic publication, that clergy were also subjected to arbitrary arrest and questioning. “There’s no freedom of speech. You preach that people are hungry and the moment you say people are hungry those in authority feel attacked. So you are an enemy,” the unnamed priest said.

Politics was driving this issue, the current Anglican bishop of Harare, Chad Gandiya, said. President Mugabe has “insisted on holding” elections this year. The MDC opposes the push since the country still has not adopted a new constitution.

The political parties were “vying for support and the church is seen as a source” of votes, Gandiya said. “Unfortunately, those that are deemed to be non-cooperative are then harassed. Various members of the president’s party have gone to gatherings of various churches, especially the African Independent Churches, to try to win their support. They don’t seem to have done the same with the mainline churches. One possible reason could be that the mainline churches would not give them the same kind of platform.”

For Anglicans, the fight “in our church is political but dressed in religious clothing,” Gandiya said. “Nothing has changed. We continue to be harassed and prevented from using our church buildings while Dr. Kunonga is assisted by the police in his ambitious expansionist [plans].”

But in the midst of the political infighting, the churches continue to do their “holistic ministry quietly,” he said. “Our population is greatly traumatized and in need of healing. Our people are afraid. Please pray that our leaders take the lead in encouraging people not to engage in violence.”

Paul Mukome, the Nazarene pastor, agreed that prayer is necessary—but his prayer request differed. “The biggest message for Zimbabweans is that the time to pray has come,” he said. “We have to pray harder for our leaders so that they know how to lead through the image of God.”

America dons the victim’s mantle in church wars: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 5, 2011 August 5, 2011

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Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The murders, beatings and state-sanctioned violence suffered by Anglicans in Harare under the Mugabe regime are akin to the discomforts faced by Episcopalians loyal to the national Church who reside in dioceses that have departed for the Anglican Church in North America.

This summary of the situation in Harare from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori came in an August 2 report released by the Episcopal News Service (ENS) summarizing her trip to Central Africa.  Her remarks are similar to claims made at the Jamaica meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2009.  However, in Kingston delegates from the Global South rejected the Presiding Bishop’s attempt to cloak the Episcopal Church with the victim’s mantle, arguing in the United States it was the Episcopal Church who was the aggressor in its legal battles.

In its article on the Presiding Bishop’s July 29-31 visit to Zimbabwe, ENS wrote: “A crippled nation at the mercy of tyrannical leaders, Zimbabwe is home to a persecuted yet resilient community of Anglicans who’ve been victimized, intimidated and run out of their own churches by a state-supported renegade bishop and his allies.

“Yet, despite being excluded from all worship spaces in Harare, ‘the Anglican church is growing, filled with joy, and looking outward’,” Presiding Jefferts Schori told ENS.

The article then quoted the Presiding Bishop as having said: “They have experienced the same kind of thing as congregations in Fort Worth and San Joaquin.”  The Church’s press office explained the Presiding Bishop was “referring to attempts by former leaders in those places to take ownership of diocesan property and leave loyal Episcopalians without a spiritual home.”

ACNA clergy contacted by CEN in Fort Worth and San Joaquin expressed displeasure with the analogy drawn by the Presiding Bishop, with one priest noting that situation was actually “quite the reverse.”

“We’re the ones [like the Diocese of Harare] with 90 per cent of the people and are the ones defending ourselves against their attempts to drive us out of our church homes.”

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Fort Worth, Suzanne Gill, earlier this year told CEN the picture painted by the national Church was not true to life as Bishop Jack Iker had sought time and again to find a “gracious” way forward.  “People wonder from time to time about a mediated settlement. As you know, this was tried and rebuffed,” she said.

“We still try in vain to get the press to notice that we gave away four parishes in February 2009, or that we have four churches being run by TEC clergy which are owned by the [breakaway diocese].  We even pay the casualty insurance on one of them,” Ms Gill noted.

During the debate on the Anglican Covenant on May 7, 2009 at ACC-14 in Kingston, the Bishop of Peru, the Rt Rev William Godfrey, urged the ACC to take up the question of the property lawsuits in the US.  “When good and godly men choose to set aside” the Biblical injunction not to take their disputes to court, “we must ask why.”

The Anglican Communion “must put everything that is a problem on the table” for discussion, Bishop Godfrey said.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori responded that “the reality is that those who have sought to remove property” from the control of the national Episcopal Church were the problem.

Nor was this an American problem alone. “In Harare” Dr Nolbert Kunonga had alienated church property from the province, while “in the Sudan” the Diocese of Khartoum was “trying to get its cathedral back” from a breakaway group.

She added the “[previous] Bishop in Jerusalem,” the Rt Rev Riah Abu al-Assal, “sought to remove property” from the diocese.  “When leaders of the Church assert property of the church is personal property and are unwilling to discuss the issue,” national Churches have a “fiduciary and moral duty” to fight.

Bishop Ezekiel Kondo of Khartoum objected to the Presiding Bishop’s remarks and disputed her grasp of events in Khartoum.  It was “not a cathedral but a house” that was in dispute, he added.

The Bishop in Iran, the Rev Azad Marshall responded that the Presiding Bishop was “wrong” to link the overseas property disputes in Africa and Israel to those of the Episcopal Church.  The Jerusalem dispute was not in any way like the American dispute, he said, adding the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East supported the decision taken by the breakaway American dioceses to leave the Episcopal Church and take their property with them.

Kunonga in hospital grab: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2011 p 8 June 28, 2011

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Dr. Nolbert Kunonga

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Masvingo writes from Zimbabwe that Dr Nolbert Kunonga has expanded his depredations beyond Harare and has tried to take control of a diocesan mission hospital in the southeast of the Central African nation.

In an email to the Central African bishops and supporters in the West, Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi said the breakaway Bishop of Harare “continues to destabilize” the mission hospital in Daramombe “in an effort to forcibly take control of the institution.”

Dr Kunonga’s invasion of the Diocese of Masvingo comes amidst heightened uncertainty in the bitter dispute. On 2 June, Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare also sent an email to supporters reporting that 16 Anglicans had been arrested by the police after protesting against the invasion of the Rev Julius Zimbudzana’s home by supporters of the breakaway bishop. Several priests were jailed overnight on trumped-up charges, Bishop Gandiya said.

The security forces continue to support the breakaway bishop — a vocal supporter of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe — while other factions in the regime appear to be distancing themselves from Dr Kunonga. Unsympathetic reports of the breakaway bishop’s actions have begun to appear in the state press, backed by editorials calling for an end to the dispute.

In his email, Bishop Tawonezvi reported that a nurse on the staff of the Daramombe hospital informed the director in April that she recognized Dr Kunonga as the rightful owner of the church facility, and that Dr Kunonga had appointed her head nurse. The Ministry of Health then transferred the nurse to another facility.

On 31 May, “the Bishop, Priest in Charge, and clinic staff had a meeting at the clinic to discuss some administrative issues.” Bishop Tawonezvi wrote and then spoke to the Kunonga nurse, telling her that “her services were no longer required at Daramombe mission. Our conversation with her did not even last a minute.”

The next day the priest in charge of the hospital and the head nurse were arrested by the police and charged with having made an “indecent assault” upon the Kunonga nurse. Bishop Tawonezvi was summoned to the police station on 3 June to answer questions about the alleged assault. Last week the Ministry of Health rescinded its transfer order and sent the Kunonga nurse back to Daramombe.

“Kunonga and his thugs always resort to lies and criminal activities” Bishop Tawonezvi said.

“We will continue to resist efforts by Kunonga to take over Daramombe mission. We are grateful for your prayers,” the bishop’s email said.

Anglicans kicked out of doors again this Easter in Harare: The Church of England Newspaper, April 29, 2011 p 8. May 2, 2011

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Dr. Nolbert Kunonga

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Easter Sunday was celebrated outdoors in Harare this year, with the city’s churches closed to Anglicans who have refused to accept the authority of deposed bishop, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga.

The deteriorating political situation has heightened tensions in the Central African country.  Church leaders are being pressured to declare their loyalty to the regime, or face the consequences of disloyalty.  The Anglican Church’s difficulties are heightened by the presence of supporters and opponents of the regime in its ranks, and by the support given to Dr. Kunonga from the security services.  Dr. Kunonga has attacked the church as a stooge for British imperialists, and has cemented his ties to the secret police by his unswerving loyalty to the regime.

Sources in the Central African church report that worshippers and clergy loyal to the Anglican bishop recognized by the wider Anglican Communion, Dr. Chad Gandiya, gathered in Africa Unity Square across from the closed Cathedral of All Saints and St Mary for Easter services.  Other Anglicans gathered in private homes, pubs and in parks to celebrate Easter, as their churches remain closed to them.

Mugabe’s recent attack on Catholic Bishops is very disturbing at a time when Christians all over the world were marking the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What is even more worrying are reports of police intimidation of Anglicans in Zimbabwe.

Last month the Mothers’ Union in Harare was ordered by Dr. Kunonga to join a pro-government petition campaign.  On March 3 the ZANU-PF government of President Robert Mugabe launched a campaign to gather at least two million signatures on a petition protesting sanctions imposed by the UK, US and EU against the regime’s leaders—including Dr. Kunonga.

Opposition leaders who have questioned the campaign have been jailed, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) reports.  The instability in North Africa has also prompted harsh reactions from the regime.   On Feb 19, 46 union leaders, students and human rights activists were arrested for attending a meeting to discuss the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. They have since been charged with treason.

On April 22, the Daily News reported that President Mugabe’s ire had turned upon the Roman Catholic Church.

“Even though I was born in this church (Catholic), their bishops are all over me on a daily basis. They attack me and criticise me because they are led by the whites who have their interests and agendas. They say I am an oppressor because they are not happy that the country is being led by a black man,” President Mugabe said.

Kunonga closes cemeteries to Harare’s Anglicans: The Church of England Newspaper, April 15, 2011 p 7. April 19, 2011

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Bishop Nolbert Kunonga

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The property dispute in the Diocese of Harare has passed from churches to cemeteries, with supporters of former bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga blocking the burial of Anglicans loyal to Bishop Chad Gandiya.

Sources in Zimbabwe tell The Church of England Newspaper the latest skirmish between the Kunonga faction, which through the backing of the security services has seized control of all church property in Harare, and the supporters of Bishop Gandiya occurred on April 10 at a cemetery outside Harare.  However, the incident at St Mary’s Cemetery in Chitungwiza was one of several confrontations between government supporters and the security services against Christians in the Central African nation.

Last month the MDC accused President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party of infiltrating the country’s churches, coercing its leadership and “further inflicting harm on religious practices by constantly interfering with the operations of the house of God.”

On April 8, Mr. Edward Rinashe (70) a life-long Anglican died at home of natural causes.  On Sunday his family brought his body for burial at St Mary’s Cemetery in the Harare suburb of Chitungwiza.

However, supporters of Dr. Kunonga refused to allow the coffin into the cemetery for burial as Mr. Rinashe had been a supporter of Dr. Gandiya.  The body was returned the funeral home and the family was forced to make other arrangements.

A spokesman for Dr. Kunonga, Bishop Alfred Munyanyi told the Voice of America the bishop would not relent and would continue to forbid access to churches and cemeteries to those who did not recognize his authority.  Bishop Munyanyi also accused Dr. Gandiya of being a British stooge who was not sufficiently loyal to the regime.

The graveyard scuffle came the day after riot police raided the Church of the Nazarene in Glen Norah, tossing gas grenades into a packed ecumenical memorial service.  With guns drawn and welding sjamboks the police emptied the building of worshippers, who had gathered to pray for the peace of Zimbabwe.

“Police just stormed the church and began to throw tear gas, wantonly dismissing people. They simply ordered people to get out and get home,” Bishop Ancelimo Magaya told Metro Zimbabwe.

The assault came shortly before Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, was scheduled to arrive.  The MDC also reported that its Harare province vice chairman, Shakespeare Mukoyi, was kidnapped by ZANU-PF thugs during the turmoil.

Harare Mothers’ Union ordered to sign pro-Mugabe petition: The Church of England Newspaper, April 8, 2011 p 8. April 12, 2011

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Mothers Union members in Zimbabwe

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Mothering Sunday took on political overtones this week in Central Africa, with church leaders marking the 4th Sunday of Lent with spirited addresses to diocesan chapters of the Mothers’ Union.

On March 26, Agatha Kunonga, wife of Dr. Nolbert Kunonga—the breakaway Bishop of Harare—instructed members of the Mothers’ Union loyal to her husband to sign a petition prepared by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU(PF) party protesting sanctions imposed by the international community against the Zimbabwe strongman.

But across the Zambezi, the Bishop of Lusaka marked April 3, Mothering Sunday, with a call for all Zambians to register and vote in this year’s general elections.

In an address to the Zambian Mothers’ Union at St Peter’s Church in Lusaka, Bishop David Njovu urged all Zambians to exercise their right to vote, and to do so in a peaceful and orderly fashion.

The bishop said the Anglican Church would not take sides nor endorse candidates in this year’s election, which will pit incumbent President Rubiah Banda of the ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) against his 2008 challenger, Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) party.

Bishop Njovu urged partisans of both parties to be careful in their language, and urged those who will be disappointed by the outcome of the vote not to resort to violence.

An implicit threat of violence for those who opposed President Robert Mugabe and the ruling ZANU(PF) party in Zimbabwe was given in an address to the Mothers Union at St Mary’s Cathedral in Harare the prior Sunday.

In Harare two groups claim the mantle of Mothers Union: a faction led by Mrs. Kunonga and the larger group recognized by the worldwide Mothers Union and is led by Mrs. Faith Gandiya–wife of Bishop Chad Gandiya.  In an address to her faction, Mrs. Agatha Kunonga marked the annual Zuva raAmai Maria ( Lady Day) ceremony at the cathedral with a fierce denunciation of Britain and the West for its sanctions against President Mugabe and his allies.

“The sanctions have affected every Zimbabwean regardless of political affiliation. They have also hit hard on all sectors of the economy, ranging from agriculture, industry, tourism and even sport; so this calls for collective denouncement of the sanctions,” Mrs. Kunonga said, according to a report broadcast by the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

Mrs. Kunonga, whose husband is among those banned from entering the EU or US, and whose assets in the West have been frozen due to his complicity in the crimes of the Mugabe regime, led the blue and white clad members of the Mothers Union in hymn singing and ZANU(PF) party songs.

Each member of the Mothers Union in Harare was directed to sign the anti-sanctions petition launched on March  2 by President Mugabe.  The government is seeking to gathering over 2 million signatures, and has allegedly arrested political opponents who have bowed out of the campaign.

On March 29 The Zimbabwean reported that an MDC activist was arrested by the secret police for refusing to sign the petition.  Opposition leaders have rejected the national petition campaign, claiming it is an attempt by the government to shift the blame for its failed economic policies which have rendered Zimbabwe destitute.

Harare murder a warning to Anglicans: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 25, 2011 p 7. February 25, 2011

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Dr. Nolbert Kunonga

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The church property dispute in Harare took a sinister turn last week after an Anglican lay leader was tortured and murdered allegedly as a warning to opponents of breakaway bishop, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga.  “My people are going to be killed for the simple reason that they belong to a certain denomination,” Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya told a Feb 19 press conference.

On the night of Feb 17/18 unknown assailants attacked 89-year old Jessica Mandeya in her home in Fusire village in Murewa. “They raped her, cut her mouth and pierced her thighs with an iron rod then latter killed her,” a source in Zimbabwe said in an email to The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of York condemned the murder telling CEN he remained “concerned at the apparent intimidation and persecution of those attending churches in Zimbabwe.”

“Whilst the details of Mrs Mandeya’s death remain unclear, I continue to pray for peace, justice and freedom for the people of Zimbabwe. The suffering being faced by many on a daily basis is totally unjust and should not be allowed to persist,” Dr. John Sentamu said.”

Bishop Gandiya denied the killing was related the on-going political dispute between the ruling ZANU-PF party and its junior coalition partner the MDC.  He confirmed to CEN that Mrs. Mandeya, a sub-deacon in her local Anglican church, had been tortured and murdered, allegedly in connection with the dispute between the Diocese of Harare and breakaway Bishop Nolbert Kunonga.

“One of our church members was murdered last week in Murewa for reasons believed to be infighting in the church,” Bishop Gandiya told the Harare press conference, adding that “our church members should know we are now endangered species.”

In an interview broadcast on Feb 21, Bishop Gandiya told SW Radio Africa that Anglican leaders in Zimbabwe were in danger.  “One of my fellow bishops was approached by two people who told him that they had come to kill him and that the mission is to kill all the Anglican bishops; and that is why I said we are an endangered species because from that conversation with my colleagues we are all to be killed.”

“All he was told was this had something to do with the church and that we were stumbling blocks to Dr. Kunonga’s ambition of running the whole Anglican church in Zimbabwe,” Bishop Gandiya said.

A staunch ally of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe, Bishop Kunonga has flouted court orders, with police support, that called upon the rival parties to share church properties until final adjudication was reached over their ownership by the country’s Supreme Court.

“We are witnessing the police taking sides with the Kunonga camp and preventing our church members to use church properties and facilities despite having some High Court judgments that we should be co-existing,” Bishop Gandiya said.

On Jan 30 the archbishops attending the Dublin primates meeting released a statement condemning the violence in Harare.  “We believe that the appalling situation experienced by members of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe seriously infringes their right to justice, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and personal security under the law guaranteed by the constitution of Zimbabwe and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.”

They called upon President Mugabe to “use all the power and authority of your office to put an end to these abuses forthwith,” adding that this “unmerited, unjust, and unlawful persecution” served only to damage “further the good name and reputation of the Republic of Zimbabwe and results in untold and unnecessary additional suffering for many thousands of people.”