I can’t help you – Mugabe tells Archbishops

President Robert Mugabe entertained the head of the worldwide Anglican Church on Monday to a very English cream tea at State House on Monday.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, accompanied by fellow Archbishops of Central Africa, Southern Africa and Tanzania, appealed to Mugabe to help put an end to the relentless abuse the church had endured at the hands of excommunicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga.

But the president told them he could not intervene because the church had taken the dispute to court.

The archbishops gave him a dossier chronicling the seizure of church property and harassment of its followers by Kunonga supporters. A recalcitrant Kunonga, who staged a demonstration against Williams, sounded a defiant tone and said the crackdown was not over.

"Gandiya is a silly man himself for inviting a homosexual to this country,” said Kunonga. But Williams' dossier rejected the “misrepresentation of our church” as not holding to the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage. “This is wholly untrue," it said.

"Details of this litany of abuses, which include false imprisonment, violence, denial of access to churches, schools, clinics and mission stations, are outlined below. In the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland properties belonging to the Province have been misappropriated. It is a matter of the greatest sadness that we are being prevented from continuing our work to support local and often very needy communities with healthcare and education."

The dossier says Anglican priests and people were being denied access to their own clinics and schools. "Many of these institutions have been taken from us and under current poor or corrupt management are being rapidly run in to the ground and stripped of their assets."

The Archbishops clarified to Mugabe that Kunonga left the CPCA out of his own volition in 2007 and was no longer recognised by his former flock.

They also rejected accusations that the Anglican Church was promoting regime change. "The Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe have never aligned themselves with any political party. There is no evidence to suggest we are anything other than loyal citizens."

The Archbishops told Mugabe that they were dismayed that their continued calls for justice have gone unheard.

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