Posted by: Titus Presler | February 20, 2011

Woman age 89 murdered for loyalty to Harare Diocese CPCA

The church conflict in Zimbabwean Anglicanism has taken a dreadful turn with news just received that an elderly member of the Anglican Diocese of Harare CPCA who had resisted pressure to join the breakaway movement led by Nolbert Kunonga was murdered at her home in the Mrewa Mission District.

In the 19 months since Chad Gandiya was consecrated as Bishop of Harare on 26 July 2009, the situation of the diocese, which is recognized by the Anglican Communion as the legitimate Diocese of Harare and as a member of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), has had upturns and downturns.  The trajectory over the last 9 months or so, however, has been steadily for the worse as the renegade diocese has been able with impunity to push CPCA congregations and clergy out of churches through violence and intimidation.

It appears that Kunonga has powerful friends in the pariah government of President Robert Mugabe.  The violence and intimidation being launched against the Anglican Church is disturbingly similar to the pattern that has occurred in the runup to every national election since 1985.  The murder in Mrewa is an outrage, as is the overall conduct of the police and government agencies over the course of the now long-running conflict.

The Christian community in Zimbabwe must unite in condemnation of state-sanctioned violence against a church.  The primates of the Anglican Communion recently sent a public letter to Mugabe protesting his government’s capricious and violent campaign against the Anglican Church.  We all must continue to raise our voices against the vendetta that the Mugabe government and its agencies are waging against the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.

The letter from Bp. Chad Gandiya announcing the murder and other events appears below:

Rest in Peace Mrs Jessica Mandeya


Members of the Diocese of Harare CPCA & Friends in Christ,

In my Pastoral Letter of last month I mentioned the “disturbing new developments” that were taking place and how baffled we were with these developments. Now, hardly a month later, I write to you in deep sorrow to inform you about the callous murder of Mrs. Jessica Mandeya a stalwart lay leader at St. Lambert’s Anglican Church in Mrewa Mission District. The 89 year old lived alone. We received the sad news on Monday morning. She was murdered on Friday evening but discovered on Sunday morning when friends came to join her to walk to church. Information reaching us is that she was murdered because she belongs to the Diocese of Harare CPCA, having received threats to that effect in preceding weeks and days as she consistently refused to join Dr Kunonga’s Church.

We are all very shocked by this turn of events. The faithful in Mrewa are equally shocked by both her untimely death and comments/threats that they will face the same fate if they continue to belong to the Diocese of Harare CPCA. Police are investigating the murder and we hope that the culprit(s) will be apprehended and that justice will prevail.

Last Sunday one of our retired priests Rev’d Col. Mavhudzi was arrested and spent a night in police cells at Mrewa for insisting on using their church building and the flock he helps look after at St. John’s Church, Chikwaka is greatly harassed. The priest-in-charge at St. Johns was harassed by police with guns. Workers in some of our parishes have been threatened with eviction without Court Orders. The congregation at St. James in Mabvuku had to change the venue of their worship place because of threats of violence because I was due to do a confirmation there. I am deeply concerned about the safety of the flock God has committed to my care. Our efforts to try and engage the authorities in order to press on them to stop all this harassment of my flock have not borne fruit yet.

While it is our prayer that the Court determination regarding the issue of our church properties and implementation of court orders is done expeditiously, we believe that delays are tantamount to condoning injustice and the unwarranted suffering of our people. We continue to ask, “How long Lord shall our people continue to suffer?” Please pray for the Mandeya family and the diocese as we grieve over the murder of one of our flock.

Mukristu Usanete: Namata Urinde! Christian seek not yet repose: Pray and Watch!

Thank you for your prayer support.

+Chad N. Gandiya

Diocese of Harare CPCA


  1. This comment, received on Feb. 20, is being posted only after I have been able to verify the details of Mbuya Mandeya’s death that are described in the comment. Bp. Gandiya has confirmed to me that they are true.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by USPG, Titus Presler. Titus Presler said: Woman age 89 murdered for loyalty to Harare Diocese CPCA: […]

  3. May Kunonga be woken from his slumber and hear the cries of the people of God. May the blood of this innocent grandma awaken and strengthen the faith of living.

  4. The death of an Anglican lay minister in Mrewa is one too many and morally outrageous. One cannot even imagine that this is happening in the Church of God. Jesus died for us so that looking at his innocent blood flowing, all His followers could be moved to work against any more senseless killings.

    What I do not understand is how far the State of Zimbabwe is involved in such brutal madness. My own experience with the Kunonga people in 2006 led me to conclude that the State was being brought in as a cover up of the malice perpetuated by the same who claimed to be Christian. They want to murder people and claim that State agents are behind the dirty job.

    When residing at 9 Coltman Rd, Mt Pleasant, in 2006 and as Principal of Bishop Gaul College, I received information that the CIO were looking for me. As a law-abiding and patriotic Zimbabwean, I took up the matter with the CIO, who categorically denied any such insinuations. They sent one official to 9 Coltman to interview me about the issue and continued to deny that they were looking for me. It was during that same interview that Kunonga himself phoned me to say that I was in great trouble. I conveyed the same to the CIO officer who was with me, and he looked very surprised. I told Kunonga that the CIO were actually in the house. I did not tell him that the officer before me had actually came because of my invitation, so he went on to point out that there was nothing he could do to get me out of the mess. Little did he know that I did not need any help from him. He had already shown me that he was not a man of God.

    What I want to confirm therefore is that the CPCA could be lured into hating the State and therefore play into the hands of Kunonga’s dirty tricks. Why should the State of Zimbabwe vicitimise its own citizens? Members of the CPCA are Zimbabweans and should insist on that right. The one thing that Kunonga’s lies have succeeded in doing is to convince all that anyone who is against him is a member of the MDC. Again, even if that were true, MDC people are also Zimbabweans. But I was never a supporter of MDC and do not intend to be one in my life. I am just Anglican and would like to worship my God in freedom. It is not that I have an axe to grind with MDC but that my principles as a Christian do not allow me to hate others in the name of politics. I have no personal interests in either ZANU (PF) or MDC. The only thing I do for these two parties and all other politicians is to pray that they lead us in a responsible manner, knowing very well that Zimbabwe is greater than any one of the parties that may assume power.

    Christians need not worship God from a partisan point of view. That would be missing the point. This is what is happening among all those who are murdering others. It is clear that they have no Christian agenda at all. They are actually abusing the name ‘Christian’ and telling blatant lies to the State that they are patriotic when in actual fact they are plunging Zimbabwe into an unnecessary mess. When ZANU (PF) comes to learn the truth, it will realise that its record of liberating Zimbabwe has been messed up by opportunists.

    I urge Bishop Gandiya to take up the cause of CPCA as a Zimbabwean who has nothing sinister and who has nothing to fear. The Bishop must stand up and engage ZANU (PF) so that the truth will be known. Kunonga does not really support ZANU (PF) but is an opportunist. He needs some people who will expose him in this connection. Where was he when Zimbaweans were involved in a brutal fight for their liberation? Where was he when freedom fighters were being brutally killed by the regime that was forced to surrender its cause? The State need not be hood-winked. I am sure all the politicians in Zimbabwe know that there is a desperate former bishop by name of Nolbert Kunonga, a chancer in many ways, and one who does not respect the God he claims to serve. Even his followers are nothing but chancers who would simply like to share the spoils by destroying the true Church.

  5. Yes, it’s true that Mugabe and his cronies are murderers and rapists. Jessica Mandeya was tortured, raped and killed by Robert Mugabe’s dogs. She was killed in Fusire village in Murewa. They raped her, cut her mouth and pierced her thighs with an iron rod then latter killed her.

    This lady was 89 years old, and her only crime was that she did not support the two criminals, Kunonga and Mugabe. For how long must we let Mugabe and his cronies torture us, rape our sisters, mothers and grandmothers, kill us like ants?. For how long must our countrymen be brutalised and killed by this dictator? For how long must we stay outside our country and be called derogatory names such as aliens, asylum seekers, vagrants, immigrants? For how long must we wait? Let’s decide, Zimbabweans, and let’s decide now. We are letting down our children and grandchildren. Our heritage will be read in the books of history as the generation that was tormented by an 87-year-old dying pyschopathic vampire. Let’s stand up and remove this devil now.

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