In 2007 Kunonga unsuccessfully tried to withdraw his diocese from the Church Province of Central Africa (CPCA), claiming differences over 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.
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. The seizures have been done with tacit support from Mugabe’s regime, that has also provided police to protect him.
The head of the Anglican church worldwide, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, travelled to Zimbabwe in October and handed over a dossier to Mugabe detailing the abuses suffered by their members over the last four years.
But Precious Shumba, a press officer for Bishop Chad Gandiya from the CPCA, said the visit didn’t change anything and they are still not getting any protection. He said Kunonga’s priest in Mhondoro, identified as Langton Munindwa, is moving around with ZANU PF youths and threatening school authorities who have offered premises for worship to Rev Charles Muzanenhamo and his parishioners.
Not only has Kunonga taken over churches he has also taken over some of the prominent educational institutions run by the church, and run them into the ground. St David’s Bonda, St Faith’s, St Augustine’s and St Anne’s Goto High Schools are all now under the control of Kunonga’s sidekick Elson Jakazi. They are both said to be interfering with work at all these schools and demanding large levies.
Matters came to head last month when students at St David’s Bonda went on a rampage, demonstrating against inadequate food supplies and the declining living and educational standards. The girls then starting walking, trying to reach the
Ministry of Education offices in Mutasa District. But after walking many kilometres they were stopped by the school authorities.
Explaining the problems at the school, Shumba said Kunonga and Jakazi “took money meant for the purchase of food for school pupils at Bonda Mission” and diverted it “for their own administrative needs at their offices in Mutare.” Shumba said Bonda’s reputation as one of the best schools in the country has been ‘torn apart’.
In Harare, parishioners evicted from their church building are worshipping under trees or using premises provided by local schools and other organisations.
As Kunonga has few parishioners he can’t justify all the buildings he has seized and is renting them out to private businesses for offices, or hiring them to people needing wedding venues.Post published in: News