With Christmas religious observances fast approaching Zimbabwean police have agreed not to interfere with the services organized by the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa, which has long been at loggerheads with ousted Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, a close ally of President Robert Mugabe.
The agreement was reached after Kunonga filed an urgent application in High Court appealing a recent decision censuring him for using police to disturb services of the rival Anglican Church group on recent Sundays.
Lawyers representing the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa sought relief in Harare High Court last week, obtaining the ruling against the former bishop from Justice Tedious Karwi. Kunonga then lodged his urgent application which was heard by Justice Ben Hlatswayo.
Kunonga argued the opposing Anglican church group has not cited him but the police as a respondent in the application heard by Karwi.
At the hearing in Hlatswayo's chambers, both parties to the dispute and police representatives met and agreed that the services led by new Anglican Bishop of Harare Chad Nicholas Gandiya should not be disturbed.
Registrar Mike Chingori of the Gandiya formation told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that Gandiya's parishioners hope the police will keep their word this Christmas weekend. But Bishop Alfred Munyani insisted Kunonga is still in charge of the church and its properties despite the consent decree.
Kunonga clashed with his Anglican superiors of the Province of Central Africa over issues ranging from the human rights record of the Mugabe administration to the question of the ordination of homosexuals, and was dismissed. But he and his loyalists have refused to relinquish control of church properties.