Posted by: Titus Presler | June 29, 2011

Churches mobilize as Harare Anglicans continue to be persecuted

Even as Anglicans in Harare continue to experience outrageous harassment from police, clearly with the support of politicians allied with renegade Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, it is good to hear that the Anglican and ecumenical communities are mobilizing to organize support for the legitimate Anglican dioceses of Harare and Manicaland.

On Thursday, 30 June 2011, a roundtable meeting to discuss Zimbabwe will take place at Lambeth Palace, the London nerve center of the Anglican Communion.  The gathering will enable participants to hear from from government organizations, aid agencies, mission organizations, as well as Anglican and other churches who have links with Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile it is heartening to hear that the World Student Christian Federation has a Zimbabwe Advocacy Office at its Inter-Regional Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

On 28 June, Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Diocese of Harare sent the following news of continuing persecution:

We continue to experience attempts to evict some of our priests from church houses without eviction orders.

Just this past Saturday while we were at Marondera for the Bernard Mizeki celebrations a Kunonga priest forcibly entered our priest’s house. When our priest reported the matter to the police, the police would not do anything. The local police checked with their superiors who suggested to them that they should evict both priests and lock the house.

This is strange “justice”! It’s absolutely absurd! It’s madness on the part of the law enforcement people. I am a very angry bishop! Again, as I have said in the past, we as Anglicans have literally no one to turn to for help.

We have been waiting a long time for the courts to make a determination on the property issue. Nothing seems to be moving. Meanwhile Kunonga is doing what he likes without any restraint. He wants to take all Anglican properties in Zimbabwe. As they say, justice delayed is justice denied! This is what we are experiencing as Anglicans in Zimbabwe.

Bp. Chad is understandably mystified as well as outraged by the harassment.  It is not easy to discern what interest governmental authorities have in allying themselves with a renegade bishop who no longer has international recognition or standing in the Anglican Communion – and with his dwindling number of parishioners – while alienating themselves from the very large number of Anglicans who continue to be loyal to the Anglican dioceses of Harare and Manicaland that continue as members of the Anglican Communion.

The answer is likely that as the Mugabe government itself becomes increasingly a pariah on the international scene, its drive to remain in power prompts desperation to ally itself with any individuals and groups within the country on whom it can rely to mimic its own patterns of violent seizure and repression.  Kunonga – and to a significant extent Elson Jakazi, his renegade colleague in Manicaland – has shown himself more than willing to follow suit.

The casualties are immense: church unity, ecclesial credibility, the peaceable worship and community life of God’s people, and the mission to which God calls the church.

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Responses

  1. It is truly sad what is happening to our friends is Zimbabwe. Our prayer and hope is that the only almighty God, who knows times and seasons of accomplishments, will come to the aid of our fellow brothers and sisters in that country. We are all suffering with them. Our love and Christ’s for them will never depart.


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