Nuns harassed after Archbishop’s visit

Nuns at the St Augustine Diocese of Manicaland were harassed by thugs aligned to excommunicated Bishop Victor Kunonga for allowing the Archbishop of England Dr Rowan William to visit their orphanage.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams conducts a church service in Harare.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams conducts a church service in Harare.

The thugs, who were holding placards praising President Robert Mugabe’s stance against homosexuality, blocked Archbishop William from gaining access to the diocese premises.

The Archbishop’s convoy had to stop at the main gates and he and his delegation tried to use a side entrance to the cathedral which they also found locked. The delegation proceeded to the orphanage where they handed over toys and other goodies for children. They gave the nuns every assurance that they would assist them in their attempts to carry out the good works of God.

After William and his delegation left the church under police escort, a group of hired thugs who were bussed in from Mutare besieged the orphanage and harassed the nuns. The nuns were forced to denounce Archbishop Williams and were told that Kunonga was still in charge and they should respect him if they still wanted to live on the premises.

The women were labelled homosexuals and insulted by the rowdy youths.

“Kill us if you want. We are ready to die. You can kill our body, but not our minds,” said one of the nuns in tears.

The bag of donations by Archbishop William was confiscated by the youths, but was later handed back after the intervention of one of the Kunonga reverends.

“These nuns must go because they are also homosexuals. Why did they allow gays to visit our premises? President Mugabe denounces homosexuality so who are they to allow gays in our church?” shouted one of the woman.

The nuns, identified as Betty Zimowa, Sibongile Chiromunye, Annamore Mashingaidze, Anna Matunga and Elizabeth Murwira were threatened with eviction from the orphanage if they continued to support Archbishop William.

This drama happened in the full gaze of riot police who were armed with batons and canisters of teargas, but did little to reign in the overzealous thugs.

Addressing the congregation at Mutare Show grounds before touring St Johns Cathedral in the city, Archbishop William promised to stand by the church members in the country during these trying times.

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