Pro-Mugabe Anglican Bishop Wins Church Assets

The paper said Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba upheld an application by the Diocesan Trustees for the Diocese of Harare led by Kunonga, who lost control of the church in 2007 after he withdrew his diocese from the Anglican Church Province of Central Africa, in protest against the tolerance of homosexuality by Anglicans in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Upon establishing his anti-gay independent Anglican church, he was replaced by the Anglican Church Province of Central Africa who last July appointed a Bishop Chad Gandiya, sparking a bloody battle for the control of the church which has sucked in Zanu (PF) and the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

But of concern to the congregation had been the partisanship and bias of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The police had ordered that only the Kunonga faction should worship in the Anglican premises.

An order from the police reads: “Officer-in-charge stations to engage dialogue with their local church leaders from both factions to ensure that one church service is done under KUNONGA.”

Mugabe is a well known anti-gay basher. At one-time he referred to homosexuals as “worse than pigs.”

But sources familiar with the Anglican Church saga said Kunonga had ably exploited the issue in order to ingratiate himself with President Mugabe so as to gain full control of the Anglican diocese in Harare, which had extensive assets, including farms.

The Kunonga led trustees sought to nullify an appeal by the Church of the Province of Central Africa challenging a High Court decision by Justice Ben Hlatshwayo to declare the board legitimate.

Bishop Kunonga and the trustees argued that Justice Hlatshwayo’s July 24, 2009 order should be operational.

George Chikumbirike of Chiku-mbirike and Associates represented the Diocesan trustees for the Diocese of Harare while Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans appeared for the Church of the Province of Central Africa.