Police protect Anglicans from Kunonga

HARARE - Police stood guard at the Anglican Church Cathedral in Harare protecting worshippers as tables turned against ex-communicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who for five years relied on the force to eject bona fide Anglicans from their properties.

Kunonga’s supporters watched from a distance as, for the first time in almost five years, Anglicans and their clergy held a service inside the cathedral.

Police wielding baton sticks kept watch to avoid a repeat of Wednesday’s violent clashes when Kunonga hired street bouncers to regain control after the Supreme Court ruled he had no right to church properties.

Harare diocese bishop Chad Gandiya asked his followers to forgive Kunonga but warned the packed crowd to stay alert as “forces of darkness” were still lurking in the shadows.

“It has been a long journey full of obstacles, but God has returned us to his home. I thank you because you did not despair but we are not there yet,” said Gandiya.

Floors that were smelly and dirty on Wednesday were squeaky clean after members cleaned the church following years of neglect by Kunonga.

Gracious in victory, Gandiya told Anglicans not to retaliate to Kunonga’s provocations.

“We never said fight back. You were arrested and beaten but you kept calm. I ask you to maintain peace. I thank you because you did not retaliate. We were beaten and arrested but we never fought back,” said Gandiya.

Since 2007, when Kunonga withdrew from the CPCA to form his own Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe (ACPZ), the Zanu PF-aligned priest has used the police to block Anglicans from their churches and yesterday he had a taste of his own medicine.

“All these years our people have been traumatised and we have a lot of work to do. Not only in renovating these buildings but also in terms of healing and reconciliation. It is not going to be easy,” said Gandiya.

With Kunonga defiant and concocting tricks to regain lost ground, including renting mobs, Gandiya told his supporters to be on the watch as they were dealing with a gang used to violence.

“There is no turning back,” said Gandiya.

Comments (1)

If kunonga can't respect the court ruling, he should be arrested and locked up. He must learn that there is law here and he must not break that law.

Peter Macklyn - 1 December 2012

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