Police disrupt Anglican Church services across Harare

Police disrupt Anglican Church services across Harare

Harare- Armed policemen, allegedly acting on the instructions of the former bishop of the Diocese of Harare Nolbert Kunonga on Sunday 13 December 2008 disrupted Church services at nearly seven Anglican parishes.

The police’ biased maintenance of law and order is allegedly being coordinated by senior policemen at Harare Central Police Station only identified as Sithole and Jangara, who are reportedly  taking instructions from Kunonga. It is unclear why Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has allowed his men to interfere with the Anglican Church. Priests Henry Chifunyise and Thomas Madeyi were also arrested as the crackdown by the police on parishioners, Church wardens and laity who have remained in the Church of the Province of Central Africa intensified on Sunday 13 December 2008. Fr Chifunyise was taken to Marlborough Police Station but was released without being charged. Reverend Madeyi was taken to Rhodesville Police Station for questioning after he refused to talk to Kunonga at St Luke’s Greendale. Witnesses claimed Kunonga arrived at the church as early as 7am and demanded to see Reverend Madeyi but was snubbed and in anger camped in their church.
Most shocking in this dispute is the apparent involvement of selected policemen who are believed to be close allies of the Kunonga group, which is not necessarily Anglican.The affected parishes in the Diocese of Harare under the Church of the Province of Central Africa are St Columbus Kuwadzana, St Elizabeth’s Belvedere, St James Warren Park, St Luke’s Greendale, St Francis Glen Norah and St Mary’s Chitungwiza.Heavily armed policemen disrupted a church service at St Elizabeth Belvedere and forced the parishioners to go to their homes after they refused to take a service under Kunonga’s priests’.  The police also arrested 16 parishioners from St Columbus Kuwadzana including Mr Felix Tashaya and a Mr Mavhangira after their names appeared on a list given to them by the rogue ex-priest for the parish Alfred Munyanyi who has been officially rejected by the parish for his support of Dr Kunonga.Warren Park parishioners refused to take a service conducted by Kunonga’s priest’ only identified as Nyanhete and started singing while outside the church. However the armed police ordered them to disperse and all left for their homes, leaving only Nyanhete and his wife in the Church.   At St Lukes Greendale, police witnessed how Kunonga was left alone in the whole church after parishioners decided not to embarrass him by evicting him and they proceeded with their service under the leadership of Bishop Sebastian Bakare in the Church Hall. However, Kunonga, feeling the impact of rejection, allegedly ordered the police to forcibly evict the parishioners from the Church.Parishioners witnessed the worst drama ever to occur in the Church when a policeman only identifying himself as Inspector Ngindi from St Mary’s Police Station was left to rue his decision to ask parishioners to show by going out of the church who they supported, between Kunonga and Bishop Bakare. In an unprecedented move, all parishioners rose, bowed their heads and left the Church when Ngindi asked those who supported Bakare to leave. A parishioner told me  that the policeman was the only one left in the church and when he realized what he had done to the Church of God he wept uncontrollably before some concerned parishioners consoled him assuring him that God will surely defend his people against anyone.The Anglican Diocese of Harare has been enmeshed in a gripping crisis following the voluntary resignation of ex-Bishop of the diocese under the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Kunonga, who has since announced the formation of his own church, yet to be named. The CPCA proceeded to name retired Anglican Bishop Dr Sebastian Bakare on 7 November as the Vicar General and Acting Bishop of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) for a year until a new bishop is officially elected at a properly constituted Provincial Synod. Following Bishop Bakare’s appointment, 60 of the 72 Anglican parishes within the Diocese of Harare have resolved in writing to remain in the Church of the Province of Central Africa and to dissociate themselves from Kunonga or anyone who supports him.


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