Thinking Anglicans

Zimbabwe prepares for Rowan Williams to visit

Updated again Sunday morning

The Zimbabwe press contains reports of Bishop Kunonga’s statements about the forthcoming visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

New Zimbabwe Kunonga scorns Williams visit

REBEL Anglican cleric Nolbert Kunonga claims the Archbishop of Canterbury is visiting Zimbabwe in October to “lobby for homosexuality” and “represent neo-colonialism”.

Kunonga, who was banished by the main Anglican Province of Central Africa and the worldwide Anglican Church in 2007, charged that Archbishop Rowan Williams was a “civil servant on a mission”.

“The Anglican Church is a political organisation when it is in England,” said Kunonga, who denied he was a Zanu PF “puppet”.

He added: “Rowan William was appointed by the Queen and the Prime Minister and he is a civil servant of Britain. In a political and economic environment, the civil servant represents and symbolises with his State…

Zimbabwe Guardian Archbishop Kunonga: I’m no Zanu-PF puppet

…Speaking to journalists yesterday, Archbishop Kunonga said he supported democracy that involved the passing on of natural resources to people.

He said he spoke his mind in his capacity as a church leader and not as a Zanu-PF activist.

“I do not need any favours from anyone. I am fighting for this land, mines, natural resources of this land and economic power, which is in the hands of the whites. That’s my fight with the British.

“I am not a puppet of Zanu-PF and if I am a puppet, then I am a proud and educated puppet,” he said…

And according to the Telegraph in London in a report by Peta Thorneycroft Rowan Williams is ‘lobbying for homosexuality’, claims Mugabe-backed bishop:

Reverend Admire Chisango, the secretary for Mr Kunonga’s “diocese”, told The Daily Telegraph: “We have not received an invitation to attend the Archbishop’s service.

“You know Lambeth is just a club, the Lambeth Conference is a fellowship and the Archbishop of Canterbury marries women marrying women and men marrying men.

“He is on the wrong side of the scriptures and commits blasphemy.”

Meanwhile, the Voice of America reports that Evictions of Anglican Clerics Continue as High Court Rebuffs Application.

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.

Saturday updates

Some further reports have appeared.

Newsday Kunonga dubs self ‘life Bishop’

Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga who has called himself “life Bishop” remained defiant and claimed ownership of 3 800 properties in and outside Zimbabwe. He argues there is nothing to apologise for.

On Friday, Kunonga evicted two families from St Luke’s Church in Rhodesville.

The latest eviction precedes a wave of evictions targeted at those refusing to recognise Kunonga’s authority.

On Thursday Kunonga described the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who is set to visit Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia in October, as a non-entity and said there was nothing to stop him from being “Bishop forever”.

“I would prefer not to meet him because I will not be in solidarity with him. I am taking things from Williams because I am indigenising…”

ZimEye Chief Justice speaks on Anglican row

CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has blasted the Bishop Chad Gandiya-led faction of the Anglican Church for seeking political intervention in the long-drawn property ownership wrangle still pending before the courts.

This, the Chief Justice said, was tantamount to interference with the independence of the judiciary…

Sunday update

Standard Kunonga speaks on Anglican chaos

…Kunonga told journalists on Friday that as long as he was alive, all the 3 800 Anglican properties in the country would remain in his custody. He said whoever wants to use the property should rejoin his group, because it was impossible to have him and Chad Gandiya as bishops. “There is always one diocese, one bishop and one throne, not two,” Kunonga said.

“People simply walked out in thousands, they simply walked out on their own after being misled by nonentities. If they want to come back, they are free to do so and we are not going to ask them anything.

“Those who ran away from the church and do not want to come back just have to rest their case, because they donated the properties to the church, they donated to God,”

He said a lot of people had begun retracing their steps back to his faction. “There was a time when there were only five of us in the hundreds of churches, but now the situation is improving and some churches now have 300 parishioners, and these are the same people coming back after realising they had been lied to,” he said.

While extending a conciliatory hand to ordinary members of the church, Kunonga dismissed possibilities of reconciliation with the Gandiya faction. “We call for reconciliation, everybody is free to come and worship with us. We invite people and we don’t chase them away,” he said. “The dispute of bishops has nothing to do with worshippers, as has been said in the media, some people choose to politicise the dispute, others choose to be judgemental.

“The dispute is between ourselves and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and bishops of the Province of Central Africa and it is purely doctrinal and has nothing to do with politics.”

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Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

One would expect a schismatic bishop, loyal to the Mugabe Regime, to issue his statement of disassociation from the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom he sees as an ambassador of the British government and an ‘advocate’ of homosexuality in the U.K. Such a speech will help support Robert Mugabe’s rule on Zimbabwe, and shore up the government’s virulent attitude towards the needs of justice and peace in that benighted country.

One hopes that Kunonga’s outrageous claims will not thwart the proposed visitation of the ABC and the South African Primate, Thabo Makgoba.

12 years ago

“This, the Chief Justice said, was tantamount to interference with the independence of the judiciary…” Circumstances withstanding, there are moments when laughter is the first response.

robert ian williams
robert ian williams
12 years ago

And what of our kith and kin ( many elderly) still living in the failed Republic of Zimbabwe?

Rosemary Hannah
Rosemary Hannah
12 years ago

One just feels a sense of despair. If people feel quite free to invent whatever lies they like and believe them, how can truth ever get in?

12 years ago

why do I have the feeling that all of this is just a smoke-screen for a land-grab with tribalism at its base? If I were a betting man, I’d bet that Mugabe and Kunonga are from the same tribal group.

Bruce Saunders
Bruce Saunders
12 years ago

In his claim to be indigenising, Kunonga fails to recognise that he was excommunicated not by Rowan Williams, Lambeth Palace or the Church of England, but by the Anglican Province of Central Africa, who are, on the whole, no more tolerant of same sex relationships than he is.

Randal Oulton
Randal Oulton
12 years ago

>> Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga who has called himself “life Bishop” remained defiant and claimed ownership of 3 800 properties in and outside Zimbabwe. He argues there is nothing to apologise for.

Lord, what a club of choice characters GAFCON is.

12 years ago

I seem to remember a “life president” sometime back.

I think his son was finally able to slip back into the country only briefly due to the chaos of a major earthquake.

Turns out, life is never what we expected it to be.

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