Anglican conflict rages on

The Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Lazarus Dokora has refused to talk about the Anglican conflict where an excommunicated bishop has grabbed an orphanage housing 80 children.

 Lazarus Dokora
Lazarus Dokora

Parliament could not discuss the matter because Dokora said it was still before the courts.

Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, a close ally of President Mugabe, was excommunicated four years ago for inciting Zanu (PF) violence from the pulpit in political sermons that infuriated parishioners.

Following his excommunication, he claimed he was forming his own Anglican church. Bishop Chad Gandiya, leader of the mainstream Anglican group, has fought to retain control of church property, but a Supreme Court ruling by the Chief Justice gave custody of all church property to Kunonga. Even though Gandiya has appealed the ruling, Kunonga has proceeded to seize mission schools and priests' homes on the church premises. But it is Kunonga's seizure of the Shearlly Cripps orphanage housing 80 children that attracted the attention of Parliament.

Zengeza West MP Collen Gwiyo brought the matter to the House of Assembly this week.

"My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture. I would like the minister to explain government policy with regard to church disputes that are now interfering with classes, in particular there is a faction led by Bishop Kunonga of the Anglican church which has actually affected the education system," Gwiyo said.

Dokora, a Zanu (PF) minister, said the basic principles of natural justice must prevail.

"When a matter is before the courts or a judgement is in the course of being implemented, the less we speak about it, the less we interfere with that process, the safer for all of us," Dokora said.

Gwiyo insisted that the minister address the matter because it was affecting children.

"Minister, can you tell this House what your role is in terms of safeguarding the education of children?"

Dokora responded by saying that the efforts of his ministry were focused on ensuring that stakeholders in the education sector were able to obtain the services that his ministry was mandated to discharge.

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