Nolbert Kunonga should repent….

arthur_chagadamaLONDON - I came to live in the United Kingdom eight years ago in search for security and dignity after I was accosted and brutalised in Zimbabwe. (Pictured: Arthur Chagadama)

I had a respectable job and lived a reasonable life. I have continued to follow events in Zimbabwe with keen interest and hope. I got entangled in power struggles at the Anglican Cathedral church in Harare where I worked. Offering the hall to MDC to use for meetings signalled the start of my problems with Bishop Kunonga. Then my plight began with the brutal dictator Mugabe, directly forcing me into hiding out of the country through torture, arrest and detention. I am one of those Zimbabweans who bear scars of Mugabe’s brutality. Such an encounter in life changed my life forever. Near death experiences always make you look at life differently. My reaction was that of immense relief and gratitude when I managed to escape. I am the luckiest person still alive to tell the tale.

I am saddened by events unfolding at the Cathedral where I worked for 21years. The renegade, self-styled and trouble-making, Archbishop of Zimbabwe, Kunonga has continued to cause problems. I know him very well but unfortunately people underestimate the kind of power he wields and support he gets from Robert Mugabe.

A new bishop was elected, consecrated and enthroned to run the Anglican Diocese of Harare. The excommunicated former bishop attempted to scuttle the enthronement of the new bishop at St Marys Cathedral. He applied to the High Court for an injunction to prevent Bishop Chad Gandiyas enthronement. The ceremony went ahead after permission was granted by the Supreme Court on appeal. Kunonga still continues to cause havoc in the diocese by forcing people to worship outside the churches. I pray for the triumph of justice and the rule of law in Zimbabwe. I urge the new leader of the Anglican Church to move to reconcile the Diocese of Harare which has been locked in a battle with excommunicated former bishop Kunonga, a close supporter of Mugabe.

Before I left Zimbabwe I was already in exile – to a life of total insecurity. I could no longer sleep. I could not be reached by consoling words or arguments. All had become darkness. The midnight knock on my doors always exhausted me with fear. I experienced loss and grief in 2004 when my father died and I was unable to witness his burial. Many other relations have since died. It is a devastating experience in the life of an African when a loved one passes away. Not being present prolongs the agony. I have lost everything and have nothing to go back to. I lost my freedom, friends and status.

I was and I am still very much involved in opposition politics. It is premature to suggest that Zimbabwe is no longer a nation in crisis. It still remains suicidal to return to Zimbabwe unless of course some real reforms are done. Institutions do not change overnight, so the present government does not exercise control over its security apparatus. It is far from clear whether the transitional Government will provide a workable basis on which to move forward from the current multiple crises of governance, human rights, disease and economic collapse.

Mugabe is rejoicing in the fact that the situation is very complicated and gives him every opportunity to use his devious skills. The present power-sharing arrangement is a compromise which came as a result of Mugabe’s refusal to abide by democratic attempts to replace him. The idea of an inclusive government is noble, but the sluggish progress by Mugabe in adhering to the agreement leaves a lot of people in limbo. Leadership crisis in Zimbabwe is the reason behind the high number of refugees scattered all over the world. I yearn for peace and freedom in Zimbabwe.

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