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

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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.

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.”

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.”

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.

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

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Property Litigation, Zimbabwe.
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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.

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

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Property Litigation, Zimbabwe.
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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

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Property Litigation, Zimbabwe.
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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.

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.

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.

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.”