President Robert Mugabe has been drawn into the fight for the control of the Anglican Harare diocese, with some politicians promising members of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) that they will facilitate access to him.
The feud between the Bishop Chad Gandiya-led diocese of the CPCA and the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe headed by Bishop Nolbert Kunonga has been raging since the latter’s excommunication in 2007.
The feud, largely centred on ownership of properties and characterised by violent clashes especially targeted at CPCA members, has resulted in numerous court cases and political interventions to no avail.
In a recent pastoral letter, Bishop Gandiya urged members of his church to be vigilant amid reports that some politicians had offered some unsolicited assistance while some members have received threats.
“Two things have been brought to our attention,” Gandiya said. “First, that there are some aspiring politicians who are telling some of our people that they can help us because they have access to the State President. We would like you all to know that our case is pending in the Supreme Court and that if we need to have an audience with His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, we know the acceptable channels to follow. Don’t fall prey to those who want to gain political mileage out of our suffering.”
Gandiya’s letter also said there were threats to harm some of his church’s rural clergy and local rural church leadership, urging parishioners not to take the threats lightly. “Please report such threats to life to the police and keep us informed,” the letter read.“The police are obligated to protect all people without favour. We ask all our parishes to be vigilant and to be your brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.”
CPCA spokesperson, Precious Shumba, said, although he could not name the politicians who have been trying to manipulate his church’s predicament, he had been told that these were not from MDC.
Shumba said cases of threats had only been documented in-house and not reported to the police.
He said most parishioners no longer see the value of making police reports, as previous cases were ignored, while some of the victims were allegedly arrested instead of the assailants.
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