Hundreds of Anglicans loyal to Bishop Chad Gandiya gathered Thursday at the Harare Cathedral to celebrate Wednesday’s eviction of ex-communicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga but their happiness was short-lived after police stopped them from holding a long church service.
The parishioners sang praise and worship hymns and danced under the watchful eye of policemen who were providing security following Wednesday’s skirmishes perpetrated by Kunonga loyalists.
Six of the disgraced bishop's bouncers were arrested in connection with the violence.
Bishop Chad Gandiya, who has been entangled in long-winding legal battles with Kunonga, led the Thursday mass and expressed joy for returning to the parish after a five-year absence, worshiping in tents and under trees.
"I am a happy bishop, I give all the glory to God," said Gandiya, adding that "the day we had waited for all these years has come and at long last we've been able to enter our cathedral."
As Gandiya spoke to journalists, the overjoyed parishioners could not stop the singing.
Bishop Gandiya said his group will conduct an inventory of all the church’s assets as they implement last week’s ruling of the Supreme Court ordering Kunonga to release all the church’s property to his camp with immediate effect.
As all this happened, Priest Tendai Mugariri of the Dzivarasekwa Parish, who is loyal to the excommunicated Bishop Kunonga, watched the proceedings from a distance. He would not entertain any questions.
But the Gandiya faction’s happiness was short-lived as police officers later ejected them from the cathedral saying they should stop occupying the church properties until the case brought up in the High Court by Kunonga is finalized.
Elsewhere, the deputy sheriff Thursday continued with the eviction of Kunonga loyalists from the church properties in Chinhoyi although there was reportedly some resistance at the Mbare St. Michaels Parish.
The Zanu PF aligned Kunonga broke away from the Church of the Province of Central Africa and formed his own church after he accused the CPCA of promoting homosexuality.