Anglicans fire Kunonga-aligned headmaster

HARARE - A St Matthias Tsonzo School headmaster and his deputy have been sacked by the Anglican Church because they were aligned to deposed bishop Nolbert Kunonga’s Evangelical Anglican Church International, the Constitutional Court has heard.

Timothy Kuziwa and his substantive deputy Edward Dumbura filed a Constitutional Court application seeking to assert their fundamental rights of association.

In their application, they cited the board of trustees of the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland, Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), the Civil Service Commission and the minister of Primary and Secondary Education as respondents.

Dumbura, who is represented by Lewis Uriri, told the court that he was a pastor with CPCA before he jumped ship and joined Kunonga’s Evangelical Anglican Church International.

He was a substantive headmaster for the school in 2010, but Dumbura later joined Kunonga’s church. This followed church disputes pitting Kunonga and Chad Gandiya’s CPCA which arose between September 2007 and February last year.

The Anglican Church stripped him of his priesthood collar, before further demanding that he relinquishes his position of deputy headmaster ostensibly because he was not Anglican.

The CPCA said the position of headmaster and deputy was reserved for practising Anglicans, a position the church’s education secretary said was reached between the government, through the ministry of Education and the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland.

Dumbura in his affidavit argued that his sacking was unconstitutional.

“The first respondent (CPCA) has since approached the Magistrates’ Court in Mutare seeking my eviction and that of my family from the house I stay on the basis that I am not an Anglican,” Dumbura said.

He said ruling in the application is still pending.

He said the church has since sought to have him and Kuziwa replaced, a request that was granted by the Education ministry.

Dumbura and Kuziwa told the court that they are being targeted despite the fact that there were other teachers at the school who are non-Anglican.

Dumbura and Kuziwa said the school had infringed upon their right to equality, non-discrimination, freedom of assembly, association and freedom of conscience, further describing the church’s actions as “discriminatory”.

“The discrimination being done by the first respondent to me is unfair, unreasonable and unjustifiable in a democratic society based on openness, justice, human dignity, equality and freedom,” Dumbura said.

However, the church’s secretary Stanley Mbona said the issue was a labour dispute and needed to be resolved by the Labour Court.

“In the circumstances I submit that this application has been brought before the wrong court and that it should accordingly be dismissed with costs,” Mbona said.

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