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Zimbabwe Supreme Court Rules for Controversial Harare Anglican Bishop Kunonga

Zimbabwe Supreme Court Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa had improperly lodged its appeal as it had filed the application less than five days after notifying its opponent

The long-running battle for control of the Anglican Church in Harare, Zimbabwe, took a new turn on Monday as a Supreme Court judge threw out an appeal by the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa challenging a 2009 High Court ruling declaring former Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and his board are legitimate.

Upholding the ruling, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba questioned the way the province lodged its appeal, saying it had abused the system. He said judicial procedure requires notice of appeal to indicate the application will be made on a date in future, not less than five days from the date of its service on the respondent as was done.

"It is ordered that the appeal noted in case SC 180/09 be and is hereby dismissed in terms of rule 36(3) of the Supreme Court Rules with costs on a legal practitioner and client scale," read part of Malaba’s ruling.

Malaba’s ruling was based on the technicality that the CPCA had not followed proper court procedures in filing their appeal. The deputy chief justice said the CPCA had not provided security costs for the appeal within the prescribed time and as such were under an automatic bar imposed by the court.

High Court Justice Ben Hlatshwayo ruled in 2009 that the Kunonga church board was legitimate. The CPCA then approached the Supreme Court to appeal this decision.

Speaking on behalf of Kunonga, Bishop Alfred Munyanyi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira the ruling means the dispute is over and Kunonga has full control of the church’s properties and assets.

But Central Africa Province registrar and legal representative Mike Chingori said a separate ruling on the church properties is still pending, saying his clients will continue their fight to win back control of the Harare churches.