Just two days after the landmark ruling in which the Supreme Court ordered ex-communicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga to return church property he seized in 2007, jubilant mainstream Anglicans have started repossessing their buildings.
Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare told journalists Wednesday that this marks the restorations and re-building of the diocese.
But, he said, the use of the church buildings and properties will only begin after a thanksgiving and cleansing ceremony to be held on 16 December at Africa Unity Square in the city’s central business district.
Bishop Gandiya said his church and Kunonga’s lawyers were working together to ensure a smooth transition, adding that the church leadership is taking measures to account for all its property.
He said it has “come to the church’s attention that those that were illegally occupying their buildings had accrued huge debts with local authorities and other institutions”.
He said the debts are not the responsibility of the church but Kononga’s own making.
Kunonga had been renting some of the properties out, and officials said the tenants will be removed to allow the church to use the buildings for various purposes.
Educational institutions using Anglican Church buildings such as learning centres will consult with the church leadership to ensure that students can write examinations as they find alternative renting places.
He noted that the church is deeply concerned about what he said “is the rampant sexual abuse of children at the Shearly Cripps Orphanage in Goromonzi”.
Glen view parish reverend, Shepard Itaimunzira, told VOA Studio 7 that when they visited their church building in Glen View Three, it was in a deplorable state.
A long and bitter legal battle over the control of Anglican Church property in Zimbabwe was settled Monday when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Church of the Province of Central Africa.
The court ruling overturned pervious High Court rulings which favored the ex-communicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga.