Evictions of Zimbabwean priests from properties owned by the Harare Diocese of the Anglican church continued following a High Court decision late last week refusing to stop the removals by a faction led by the former Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku recently gave Kunonga control of all church properties until a final ruling is made on control of the church’s assets.
On Friday, High Court Judge Tendai Uchena dismissed an application in which Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Church of the Province of Central Africa - the regional branch of the worldwide Anglican Church - sought protection for clergy against evictions from their rectories and houses. Explaining his ruling, Uchena said Chidyausiku was expected to deliver a final judgment so there was no need for a lower court to rule in the case.
Chidyausiku had promised to deliver a judgment on Friday, but did not do so.
The latest Anglican cleric to be evicted is Reverend Lovemore Kasipo of Chegutu who was forced from St. Edmund’s parish by the messenger of court following the High Court ruling. Sources said such evictions are taking place even beyond Harare diocese, as the Harare diocese has property holdings beyond the bounds of its pastoral borders.
Bishop Gandiya is now appealing to the country’s political leadership to help resolve the dispute that has torn the church into two.
Province of Central Africa spokesman Precious Shumba says his church is concerned that neither the law nor the country’s authorities are protecting them from Kunonga and his allies, who now control most Anglican church properties in the diocese.
Kunonga spokesman Bishop Alfred Munyani said the Church of the Province of Central Africa should abandon all of its court applications and join his group in worship.
"They are the ones who say there is no rule of law, now the courts have ruled but they keep on launching one court application after the other," said Munyanyi. "They should just abandon that and come back to church."