Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams arrived in Zimbabwe by road from Zambia on Sunday and addressed over 15 000 parishioners gathered at the City Sports Centre in Harare. But Kunonga, who was excommunicated after an attempt to withdraw his Diocese from the main church in August 2007, responded with a demonstration against homosexuality.
In 2007 Kunonga unsuccessfully tried to withdrew his diocese from the Church Province of Central Africa (CPCA) claiming it was over differences on the ordination of gay priests. Without the necessary two thirds majority support he still went ahead to unilaterally withdraw the diocese and form his own church. With tacit support from the Mugabe regime he also went on to seize Anglican property.
Since 2008 Kunonga has seized over 90 properties belonging to the church, including the main Cathedral in Harare, 19 primary and secondary schools and several orphanages around the country.
Although many international news agencies are reporting this Anglican split as being based on a disagreement about homosexuality, SW Radio Africa has reported over the past 5 years that this dispute in the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has nothing to do with this issue.
Kunonga has in fact advanced his own agenda and now calls himself an archbishop, in total control of all the church’s assets and funds. He has openly declared his support for Robert Mugabe and given a farm as reward.
Kunonga has been able to rely on war vets, police, state security agents and ZANU PF militias to build up his breakaway church while harassing and intimidating legitimate parishioners.
On Sunday Dr Williams dealt with the crisis over the church property in his speech and spoke to supporters saying: “It is not the buildings that makes the church but the spiritual foundation of your faith.”
“Day by day you’re faced with an enemy driven by self-enrichment and lies… We thank God for your patience. You know very well, dear brothers and sisters, what it means to have doors locked in your faces by those who claim the name of Christians and Anglicans. You know how those, who by their greed and violence, have refused the grace of God try to silence your worship and frustrate your witness in the churches and schools and hospitals of this country,” Williams added.
Meanwhile Kunonga convened a press conference at the Anglican Cathedral at which he said: “Williams coming will not make the CPCA get in the church buildings, look we are here in the Cathedral and they are meeting at the Sports Centre. I am the owner of this (ndini muridzi wazvo). Gandiya is showing off with a white man and I do not care. This is not the end of Kunonga,” he boasted.
SW Radio Africa spoke to Precious Shumba who works as a Press Officer for Bishop Chad Gandiya, the man who effectively is the legitimate head of the Church in the Harare Diocese, the position formerly held by Kunonga. Shumba described Kunonga’s seizure of property as akin to “an employee resigning from a company, then claiming that he should take over the properties of that company.”
“What single church did Kunonga build during his reign as Bishop? The majority of churches were built by parishioners without any input from Kunonga and his thugs,” Shumba told SW Radio Africa.
He also confirmed that Robert Mugabe on Monday met with Archbishop Williams to discuss the problems in the Anglican Church. A press conference was set to be held to announce details of that meeting but at the time of going on air no information had been received. – Swradio africaPost published in: News