Anglican rector of St Aidans in Chitungwiza and Anglican Youth Association of Harare chaplain, Reverend Ishanesu Gusha, says that the excommunicated Bishop of Harare Nolbert Kunonga has now become a religious fundamentalist because of his lack of tolerance for other people’s views.
Speaking at a Day of Religious Freedom discussion organized by the United States Embassy in Harare on Tuesday, Gusha said Kunonga was making political moves under the guise of religion. “Kunonga claims that he wants to Africanize and indigenize the church, yet the name ‘Anglican’ means ‘English’. These are views of a fundamentalist. Kunonga may not even be aware of what the African traditional religion stands for and all what he is doing is just moving with the political tone where there is talk of indigenization. His arguments are on shaky grounds.”
Rev Gusha said Kunonga is reportedly targeting five bishops for elimination namely Chad Gandiya of Harare, Julius Makoni of Manicaland, Godfrey Tawonenzwi of Masvingo, Ishmael Mukuwanda of Midlands and Cloepas Lunga of Matabeleland for refusing to go by his religious convictions. “This is now interfaith violence,” said Rev Gusha. “The government of Zimbabwe has also participated in this violence against the church by providing human resources that is the state machinery to assist Kunonga on his project.”
Kunonga was excommunicated from the Church of the Province of Central Africa in 2007 but continues to hold on to Church assets with the support of a partisan police and judiciary.
Rev Gusha said religious fundamentalism has resulted in wars and death of people thereby making it difficult for interfaith dialogues and mutual understanding. “It is through effective interfaith dialogue that we are guaranteed of a peaceful and prosperous future,” he said.
Rev Gusha said to end religious fundamentalism, people of different faiths must do away with extremism and stop misconceptions about other people. He said forced evangelism should also end, while religious groups should stop competing for converts and using provocative language or an action that incite violence such as the burning of the Koran by Pastor Terry Jones of USA.
Religious fundamentalism is characterized by the literal interpretation of the sacred writings (scriptures) and extremism, with fundamentalists believing that their faith alone contains all absolute truths and no other truths in other faith.