Anglican factions to share premises

bishop_nolbert_kunonga__bakare.jpgKunonga & Bakare Rival Anglican factions, one led by excommunicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and the other by the man who replaced him, Bishop Sebastian Bakare, have agreed to adhere to the diff

On Wednesday Bishop Bakare told Newsreel that a meeting between the two factions and the two Home Affairs Ministers to discuss violence affecting the church, had resulted in the agreement.

Bishop Bakare however said it could not be described as a new agreement because it only confirmed an earlier judgment by Justice Rita Makarau. In January 2008 Makarau ruled that the two groups share premises until such time as the dispute over the property is resolved by the courts. Kunonga's services were to take place between 6 and 9.30am, while Bakare's followers were to use the premises after 11am.

But clashes became prevalent most Sunday's, as Kunonga's small but violent group of followers prevented Bakare's people from worshipping. Worsening matters was the protection from a partisan police force who took sides with Kunonga's group. Some weeks ago the police used teargas to disperse angry parishioners, while an innocent Harare man, living near one of the churches, was reported to have been shot in the arm during the chaos.

The controversial Kunonga was excommunicated in 2007 from the church, after he attempted to unilaterally withdraw the Diocese of Harare from the Church of the Province of Central Africa. He claimed at the time he was protecting the diocese from rampant homosexuality'. He was replaced by Bishop Sebastian Bakare, but has since used youth militia and the police to chase away Anglican parishioners loyal to the new bishop.

Legal experts agree Kunonga's claim to the church property is weak. In a telling High Court judgment, Justice Charles Hungwe last year ruled that Kunonga's diocese could not exist at law outside the constitution of the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

This was the same province he sought to break away from. A delay in the finalization of the matter in the courts has been blamed on a compromised judiciary and has allowed Kunonga time to continue laying claim to the property, due to his allegiance to Zanu (PF) and support from Mugabe. SWR

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