Anglican bishops have expressed their dismay over the continued harassment of their church members in Masvingo province by Nolbert Kunonga.
They said Anglican members are being banned from some of their institutions especially Dangaremombe mission in Chivhu.
In a letter the bishops said that their members are being evicted from church buildings in Chivhu rural area. Early last month the police ordered all church buildings in Chivhu to come into possession of Kunonga. The Anglican Diocese of Masvingo in the Church of the Province of Central Africa forthwith have been banned from using these church buildings.
They said the Anglicans are clear about the ecclesiastical boundaries of the five Dioceses in Zimbabwe which were set by the Province at a properly constituted Synod in September 2001 whereby Kunonga was part of the Provincial Synod and a signatory to the formation of the Diocese of Masvingo and its boundaries. “All the judgements from our law courts are clear that the disputes over church properties are in the Diocese of Harare which ceased to have jurisdiction over Chivhu in September 2001, the month on which the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo was ecclesiastically formed, reads the letter.
“What Kunonga is using to hoodwink the police are the title deeds which he illegally used to surrender to the Diocese of Masvingo at its formation. We believe that this was a premeditated move in order to keep church properties as he is doing now. We are therefore appealing to the President of Zimbabwe, member of the Government of National Unity, the co-minister of Home Affairs and the 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,” reads the letter.
On August 2, it was reported that the excommunicated Kunonga, an outspoken supporter of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF claimed to have ‘taken over’ the Shearly Cripps Shrine along with all other church properties in the Masvingo Province.
The local police have enforced Kunonga’s claims despite repeated court orders ruling access to Anglican properties should be open to all. This claim follows over ten years of similar actions by Kunonga, including inciting violence against those attending services under the direction of Kunonga.
As with his actions over the Shearly Cripps Shrine, the police, ignoring court orders, have often acted in collusion with Kunonga and even tear-gassed church-goers.
Since 2008, Kunonga has seized over 90 properties belonging to the church, including the main cathedral in Harare, 19 primary and secondary schools and several orphanages around the country.
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