After Religious Persecution, Anglican Church Rebuilds In Zimbabwe

By Professor Matodzi

Harare, August 29, 2013 – The Anglican Church Province of Central Africa (CPCA) has begun rehabilitating some of its church properties which were in a bad state after being seized by renegade church leader Nolbert Kunonga, six years ago.

Kunonga, the ex-communicated Anglican Church leader grabbed all the Anglican CPCA properties in 2007 when he formed a breakaway diocese.

During Kunonga’s five year reign as leader of the breakaway diocese, congregational buildings were vandalised while some church-owned land was parceled to his loyalists.

However, the CPCA led by Bishop Chad Gandiya has now begun rehabilitating some of the Anglican Church properties and some which had been stalled following the seizure of the church assets.

In Murewa, the CPCA Anglican Wabvuwi has resumed construction of a memorial clinic at St Clare that was abandoned five years ago and which will cost $150 000.

Upon completion in August 2014, the Memorial Clinic is expected to serve more than 30 000 villagers, who have been struggling to access basic healthcare in Mashonaland East province, who at times are forced to travel to Harare to access medical facilities.

“The Wabvuwi initiative to build a health centre in Murewa is work in progress for the Anglican Diocese as we rebuild the church following five years of persecution by enemies of progress. More support is still required from the corporate world, and individuals to ensure that the project is completed on time and begins to serve the Murewa community in the delivery of standard health services,” reads part of a statement issued by Bishop Gandiya.

The Memorial Clinic project was initiated by members of the Anglican Wabvuwi Guild and Anglican clergy following the death of five Wabvuwi members in a road accident at the St Clare’s Mission turn off in November 1997.

Construction of the project had been halted in 2007 when Kunonga and his followers denied Anglican parishioners access to the project site, including the church building, claiming they were now in charge. However, the renegade church leader failed to carry on with the project construction, stalling a development that was approved by the Murewa Rural District Council, the local traditional leadership and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

The Supreme Court ended the persecution of Anglican parishioners in November last year after ruling that the church property which had been at the centre of the long-running dispute belongs to the CPCA and that it has a right to an order for vindication of its property from possessors who have no right to have it.

The Supreme Court concluded that the High Court was wrong to give Kunonga and his followers the right to possess and control the property of the CPCA without its consent and that the breakaway diocese which the ex-communicated church leader formed had no right to continue in possession of the congregational buildings as they departed from the fundamental principles and standards on which the Church is founded.