Anglicans snub Mai Kunonga

HARARE - Emotions ran high among Anglicans at St Mary's Cathedral in central Harare on Sunday when Mai Kunonga, the wife of ousted controversial Harare Diocese Bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, was shut out of the high seat during Mass led by new Anglican caretaker Bishop, Right Reverend, Dr Sebastian Bakare.

The snub fuelled tension and anger in a parish that has been ripped apart by the dismissal of Kunonga, who unilaterally pulled the Harare diocese out of the Anglican Church Province of central Africa on September 21, claiming it had failed to censure bishops who were sympathetic to homosexuality.

Bishop Bakare was appointed on November 7 by the Dean of the Anglican Diocese of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Bishop Albert Chama of Northern Zambia, as caretaker head of the Anglican Diocese of Harare until such time as a new bishop is properly elected next year.

An angry Mai Kunonga stormed out of the church, shouting at parishioners and her son Nyasha (a Central Intelligence Organization operative), who had apparently refused to accompany her into church after reading the foul mood of the parishioners.

Now weeping, Mai Kunonga proceeded to St Paul’s in Highfield, where she found parishioners in the middle of a discussion endorsing the dismissal of her husband.

Adamant that she was not going to be left out in the cold, she proceeded to St Michael’s in Mbare where she was humbled again, despite frantic attempts to exalt herself to the high table. Snubbed at all parishes, Mai Kunonga contacted her husband, who stormed St Michael’s parish and confronted the priest, David Manyawi, demanding to know why he had refused to acknowledge the authority of his wife. “I don’t talk to people who have left the church,” said Manyawi.

Bakare’s spokesman, Rev. Chris Tapera dismissed reports in the state-controlled Herald that Bakare had not accepted the post because he was not happy with the perks – US$1,500 salary and a posh Borrowdale suburb home.

“Nothing can be further from the truth,” Tapera told The Zimbabwean. “Since his appointment, he has been conducting church business, supported by various priests, church wardens and laity.”

Since his appointment in 2001, Kunonga has consistently used his pulpit to praise Mugabe and decry critics of the regime. As a reward he was given a farm and a seven-bedroomed house overlooking a lake. – Chief reporter

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