Representatives of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe filed an urgent application in Harare high court on Friday seeking to wrest control of the diocese of Harare from Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who has been banished by the denomination.
The decision was taken by the African Province of Central Africa, under which the Zimbabwean Anglican Church falls. It said Kunonga unilaterally took his diocese out of the church on grounds it failed to censure bishops sympathetic to homosexuality.
The Anglican Church asked the court to order Kunonga, a staunch backer of President Robert Mugabe, to surrender three cars and to cease doing business on church premises, and cut him off from access to diocese bank accounts.
Respondents in the case include Standard Chartered Bank, Imara Asset Management and Kingdom Asset Management, which the church is asking the court to order not to take financial instructions from Kunonga.
Kunonga could not immediately be reached for comment. But he told Zimbabwean state media that homosexual organizations in England, America and elsewhere have poured in funds to erode the African Province’s stance on homosexuality.
Kunonga in recent years has been accused of incitement to murder and intimidation, among other allegations of serious misconduct.
His name is on the list of Mugabe associates targeted by U.S. government sanctions, and the Archbishop of Canterbury has asked him to step down.
Harare Diocese Trust Vice Chairman Philip Bhaki Mutasa, who filed the papers for the church, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that that it is feared Kunonga will use the diocese's resources to fund his new church.