Chief in bed with Kunonga

From being harassed by police and hired thugs, Anglican congregants are facing a new threat from an unlikely source. Parishioners from St Johns Chikwaka were shocked to find the local chief ordering them to pay allegiance to expelled renegade bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, last week.

Nolbert Kunonga
Nolbert Kunonga

In clear violation of the right to religious freedom, the chief told church members, who had waited over four hours in scorching heat, that he would only allow them to worship in his area if they agreed to be under Kunonga. Sporting a pair of blue jeans and a golf shirt, the young chief told the Anglicans he would not allow them to worship under the tree currently used as a venue after Kunonga forcibly took over the church building two weeks ago.

But the congregants stood firm. “Chief, we are not going back there. Our doctrines are different. What has changed that you now want us to go back? You are the one who gave us this place in the first place, saying ‘don’t worry you don’t need to be in a church to worship’,” said one member.

The chief, Kimpton Chigaramasimbe, had last Sunday told the local priest, Reverend Richard Mombeshora, that he was no longer eligible to lead the congregation. At a Dare on September 16 the chief “convicted” the priest of defecting from Kunonga’s church and aligning himself with church leaders of the CPCA.

“If you do not adhere to what I am saying I will not be able to protect you from harm as I did before. The issue will be out of my hands,” he said, in a covert admission that “harm” awaited those that refused to join Kunonga.

“I am not allowing you to continue under this tree and I cannot give you any other place.”

Throughout the country, trees have become the common place of worship for CPCA parishioners who are being barred from church buildings by affiliates of the ex-communicated Kunonga, assisted by the police. The majority has chosen to pray under trees rather than join a man it says is prone to using violence.

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