Posted by: Titus Presler | August 15, 2011

Illegal evictions of Anglican clergy begin in Harare diocese

Police have begun evicting Anglican clergy from their rectories on the properties of the legitimate Anglican Diocese of Harare, according to news just received from its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Chad Gandiya.  The Diocese of Harare is a member diocese of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, which in turn is a member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The evictions by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police stem from the continuing campaign of renegade bishop Nolbert Kunonga, an ally of Zimbabwe’s dictator President Robert Mugabe, to seize all Anglican church properties as part of his effort to establish a new church entity in Zimbabwe with himself as its head.

The evictions follow the earlier self-contradictory court rulings that awarded church properties to Kunonga, yet reinstated the diocese’s appeal of a ruling that challenged Bp. Gandiya’s consecration in July 2009.  As Gandiya notes in his August 5 letter (below), it is startling that a Zimbabwe court would award Anglican church properties to a person who has left the Anglican Communion and who the Anglican Primates Meeting has de-certified as the ecclesiastical authority in the Diocese of Harare.  This sequence of events demonstrates that both the court system of Zimbabwe and the police are under the control of the one-party state dictated by Mugabe and those beholden to him.

The results are catastrophic for the legitimate Anglican Church, for they deprive the many congregations of the Diocese of Harare of their church buildings, the clergy of their lodgings, and (presumably) the diocese of its various other institutions, such as schools and clinics.  The situation cries out for the Anglican Communion to offer major assistance to this persecuted community of faithful Christians.

Following is Bp. Chad’s brief note of today:

Dear Friends,
Following on my August Update of last week, Kunonga has started evicting my priests without proper eviction orders. They have evicted our priest at Mabvuku, Rev’d Dzikamai Mudenda. They have tried to evict Friar Joshua from Bishop Gaul College [the seminary located in Harare]. I am told that Fr Mundenda tried to seek police protection, but they were not interested. Please continue to pray for us. My main concern is the safety of my priests and their families. Pray that our efforts to engage the authorities succeed.
Thank you.
+Chad.

It has now been just over two years since Chad Gandiya was consecrated Bishop of Harare, on 26 July 2009.  I was present on that occasion and brought greetings from well wishers in the Episcopal Church USA.  There was an attempt in the courts that very morning by Kunonga to prevent the consecration from taking place, but the now late chancellor of the diocese was able to secure legal means to allow the consecration to proceed.  It has been an extremely trying two years for the bishop in what is the most internally conflicted situation in the entire Anglican Communion, but he has offered remarkably steady, faithful and prayerful leadership during this period.  We pray daily for him and for the diocese.

Following is Bp. Gandiya’s update of the situation on Aug. 5:

05/08/2011

Dear Friends,

August Update

Just as the Psalmist wrote, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice!” I am writing to you this short up-date “out of the depths”.  Our diocesan registrar called me on Thursday night to give me the sad news that the Chief Justice had at long last given a judgement on an appeal we had made against Justice Hlatshwayo’s judgement of 24th July 2009 in which he intended to stop my consecration and also gave the custodianship of the diocesan properties to Dr. Kunonga. The Chief Justice should have given his judgement over a year ago. To our surprise and that of everyone else, thirteen months after his promise to give judgement, the Chief Justice has now reinstated our appeal but upheld Hlatshwayo judgement on the custodianship of the properties. You can well imagine the distress and chaos this is likely to cause especially for our priests who are living in rectories. I am very concerned about the likely disturbances to my priests and their families. In his judgement the Chief Justice seems to have completely disregarded the fact that Dr. Kunonga left the Province and started his own Province of Zimbabwe of which he is its archbishop. Our question remains “How can he be the custodian of provincial properties when he left the province?”

Is it a coincidence that this judgement is given only about a week after Dr. Kunonga had stated very clearly on national television that he was going to take all church properties? We are seeing this happening right before our eyes. All along he has been abusing church members and misusing church properties with the support of some in the Zimbabwe Republic Police and nobody stopped him. We thought that the laws of the land would stop him but now we see the law legitimising his impunity. We have tried to engage various responsible authorities but to no avail. We believe that this is setting a very dangerous precedent in the country. Dr Kunonga is claiming ownership of properties that do not belong to him. This is daylight robbery now with the support of the law. We continue to hope for the time when reason will prevail to the glory of God.

Please do continue to uphold us in your prayers.

Thank you.

Shalom,

+Chad, Harare.

The Rt. Rev’d. Chad N. Gandiya

Bishop of the Diocese of Harare CPCA.

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  1. […] Illegal evictions of Anglican clergy begin in Harare diocese (titusonmission.wordpress.com) […]


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