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

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