Parishioners vow to pursue Kunonga trial

HARARE - Anglican parishioners have vowed to pursue the retrial of Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga. The controversial Bishop was dragged to court facing 38 charges ranging from intimidating and firing priests who were opposed to his leadership and even inciting murder. His trial however collapsed when

Malawian judge James Kalaile quit, citing squabbles between the prosecution and the defence over procedure. The parishioners have been in consultation with lawyers and only last week sent in a legal paper to the church that was drafted by Robert Sambo, a Diocese Chancellor and Vice Registrar of the province. The paper outlines the legal failures in which the case had so far been handled. Pauline Makoni, wife of well-known banker Dr Julius Makoni and the daughter of the retired bishop of the Anglican Church, Peter Hatendi said the case was far from over. Despite attempts to frustrate them by several church leaders they were remaining resolute in their pursuance of justice. Makoni herself received death threats in October 2002 on account of her criticism of Kunonga and has since devoted her time to fighting the case. She says if the ecclesiastical route to justice took them nowhere they had the option of using circular courts or appealing to the Anglican hierarchy. The complainants against Kunonga are having to endure deliberate delaying tactics from church authorities. The Archbishop of Central Africa, Bernard Malango, who was supposed to re-appoint another judge, made a u-turn in December last year declaring he would make a ruling on his own. As expected by many parishioners he exonerated Kunonga on all the charges. This judgment however has so far not been communicated officially to the complainants but was only covered by the state media. A few months ago an Archbishop in the same church said the province of Central Africa could not afford the fees required to pay both lawyers and prosecutors needed to move the case forward. – SW Radio Africa

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