Kunonga bishops threaten violence

HARARE - The Anglican Church is witnessing threats of fresh violence as bishops aligned to the dethroned Nolbert Kunonga battle parishioners seeking their eviction.

Three of Kunonga’s bishops on Friday threatened to unleash violence  on bishops enforcing an order issued by the Supreme Court on Monday giving the disgraced Anglican bishop five days to pack up and leave.

This came a day after Kunonga’s followers allegedly poisoned a mango orchard to fix members of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) at St Paul’s Church in Chinhoyi.

Kunonga’s bishops could face charges of contempt of court by resisting eviction if they plod ahead with their defiance.

Precious Shumba, spokesperson of bishop Chad Gandiya — who has been given control of all Anglican Church properties in Harare by the Supreme Court — told the Daily News on Sunday that there were pockets of resistance from Kunonga’s bishops who were staunchly resisting eviction.

There was now a high risk of an outbreak of violence.

“Our church members are still facing resistance at Tafara’s St Philip Parish where some rogue elements led by one Mukariri, who is loyal to Kunonga, has threatened to mobilise some youths and militias to harass our members and bishops,” Shumba said.

“He is refusing to move out of church properties and wants to start violence. He is joined by Raymond Makiwa of St James parish in Mabvuku.

“At Guruve’s St Philips Parish, there is a  Morris Brown Gwendenge and his wife Portia making the same threats. These are pockets of resistance we are facing as members of the Anglican Church. They are the last kicks of a dying horse,” he said, adding the bishops were acting on instructions from their dethroned master.  

“We understand that they are taking instructions from their godfather Kunonga, whom we understand is hiding somewhere and directing the operation of violence against us,” Shumba said.

Kunonga was unreachable for comment yesterday.

But the Harare Anglican spokesperson, who is also a director of Harare Residents Trust, said they were not going to rush to throw Kunonga’s followers out into the streets as the dethroned bishop did culminating in the five-year court battle.

“We are going to follow the due process of the law and first finish the auditing of our properties to verify what was damaged, vandalised or stolen before moving into these premises with an eviction order,” Shumba said.

“We want to do it the legal way and next week,  there will be a lot of action as we are still cleaning our church premises and contacting the police and engaging our lawyers to end this rank madness by Kunonga. We have a Supreme Court judgment which shows that we are the legal custodians of these properties.”

Gandiya’s faction regained control of 80 Anglican Church buildings, nine secondary schools and 10 primary schools, learning centres and orphanages, after the Supreme Court ruling last week which delivered a deadly blow to Kunonga.

The court ruling has brought some semblance of peace and tranquillity to other Anglican parishes in Avondale, Cranborne, Mabelreign, Mufakose, Budiriro and Norton where the midweek church services were conducted as Kunonga bishops moved out, making way for Anglican members to take control of their properties.

 Yesterday, a crew from the Daily News on Sunday visited the Avondale Parish and witnessed that peace had returned to the parish with women preparing for their routine Saturday meeting.

Reverend Innocent  Motsi of Avondale parish said  Kunonga’s sympathisers were going to move out next week on Wednesday.

“They are operating on the basis that they are supposed to vacate the premises on the 28th but tomorrow we will be holding our church service in the morning,” said Motsi. - Chengetai Zvauya and Gugulethu Nyazema

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