Kunonga's chair thrown out in cleansing

HARARE - Chad Gandiya, the victorious Anglican Church prelate, yesterday led a cleansing mass at the Cathedral in Harare, declaring “the enemy snare has been broken.”

The humble bishop and his flock had been violently banished into the “wilderness” over the past four years by excommunicated bishop and fervent Zanu PF supporter Nolbert Kunonga.

The Supreme Court returned all church properties to the main church in a landmark November 19 ruling.

Gandiya led thousands of Anglicans yesterday in a cleansing ceremony to rid the church of “the ridicule and disgrace it had been subjected to in our time in exile”.

“We have escaped like a bird; the enemy’s snare has indeed been broken. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, the strife is gone. The battle is won,” Gandiya said.

This attracted deafening applause from a bumper crowd that packed Africa Unity Square overlooking the main Cathedral in central Harare.

“Our response to the violence and now the judgement that brought us back is, to God be the glory.

“We thank all those that supported us, some at great cost to their lives. We were driven into exile but we will not remain stuck in the past.

“We will not engage in negative remembrance but will remain conscious not to let the past blockade our progress. Exile is over, harassment should be over.

“However, going back to our churches is a call to eternal vigilance,” he said.

Yesterday’s event attracted dignitaries from Namibia, Zambia and a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, which was read out to mass.

“You have faced oppression and hardship while locked out of your church,” said the Archbishop’s letter.

“Your social ministry has been greatly impeded but your faith has not weakened. There will be obstacles ahead but we are with you in prayer.”

Gandiya announced that the CPCA has since declared November 19 a day of thanksgiving to celebrate the Supreme Court judgment that returned the church’s properties to them and in memory of their persecution.

The bishop, dressed in a flowing crème and red robe, later led the cleansing of the main Cathedral, which included the replacement of the chair used by Kunonga, which he said had been “defiled.”

The new chair is inscribed with the words, “In Exile — Muupoteri”.

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