Posted by: Titus Presler | June 26, 2011

Harare diocese continues to be harassed by police

As the Anglican Communion awaits word about how this year’s Bernard Mizeki Festival has fared, we are aware that the efforts of the Diocese of Harare to sponsor the festival take place in the context of continuing and perhaps intensifying harrassment by the Zimbabwe Republic Police in a number of settings.  As occurred last year, renegade Bp. Nolbert Kunonga seems to have succeeded in convincing the authorities to allow his renegade diocese to occupy the Shrine site at Marondera on the weekend closest to the June 18 commemoration of Mizeki’s martyrdom and to force the legitimate Diocese of Harare to celebrate at the show ground in Marondera on the following weekend.

The following communication received June 2 from the Rt. Rev. Chad Gandiya offers a glimpse of just how serious the official persecution of Anglicans in Zimbabwe has become:

Dear Friends,

Alarming developments are unfolding in our beloved diocese. Last Sunday a Kunonga priest forced himself into the house of our priest (Rev’d Muzanenhamo) at Mubayira in Mhondoro while he was on trek taking services. He was informed and came back immediately and pushed Kunonga’s priest out of the house. The police came and instead of arresting the intruder they arrested our priest and charged him with assault. He spent the night in cells and we had to bail him out.

That same evening our newly ordained Deacon was evicted from the church house by Kunonga’s people. Police were called and they sided with those evicting our Deacon. In both cases there were no eviction orders as is required by the laws of the land.

Then last night when we were holding a Harare Churchwardens meeting we were informed that Kunonga’s people were breaking into the house of Rev’d Julius Zimbudzana, and some of our people went there to try and stop both the break-in and forced eviction. When they got there they managed to apprehend one of the thugs and the others ran away. They took the thug to the police station, and this time the police arrested him. They went back to the rectory to be with the priest and to comfort him and his family. They were surprised that riot police (the black boots) came and rounded everyone and took them to Highlands police station were they are detained as I write this email.

In all they have arrested 16 people as of last night, including priests and 3 ladies, one of who is Fr. Julius Zimbudzana’s mother. I am still to get the names of all who were arrested. When Fr Julius tried to give a report to the police station on Monday concerning the eviction of our Deacon I am told the police refused to open a docket, which in turn means the incident never happenned.

I am really concerned about this. We shall be running around to try and bail the whole group out today if the police will listen. Please pray for our registrars as they try to sort out their bail. Pray for those arrested. Pray especially for the families of all who were arrested last night. They are greatly traumatised by all this. I am told by some of my priests about their children who are affected and are worried about their fathers. Please continue to pray for us as a diocese.

In Christ,
+Chad.

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