Organ on Healing intervenes in Anglican Church saga

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The organ on National Healing and Reconciliation has stepped up efforts to settle the protracted and often bloody Anglican Church battle.

Minister Sekai Holland revealed this at the recently held Zimbabwe High Powered Dialogue signing ceremony in Harare that saw women from across the political divide signing an agreement to allow them to work together in all sectors of business, economics and religion.

The mandate of the organ, she said, was to promote unity and peace among people from all sectors and the signing of a deal to develop women participation in every sphere of life would work to solve the prolonged dispute.

“The major thrust of this deal is to make sure people talk to each other again after prolonged political, religious and other conflicts. The Anglican saga has been going on for a long while now and we have to step in.”

“We cannot talk about national healing without addressing issues such as the Anglican Church fiasco. The organ will work with the church to restore peace. We have to start from the bottom,” Holland said.

Oppah Muchinguri, a member of the Joint Operation and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) who is also a member of the church, said that the Anglican dispute had to be finalised to encourage unity among people.

“We as women must take action to ensure unity among people from diverse sectors and political or religious affiliations. I am a member of the Anglican Church and it pains me to see such serious divisions in the church,” she said.

The Anglican saga has been going on for years now with Nobert Kunonga, who was ex-communicated for trying to withdraw the Harare diocese from the African Central Province fighting all the way to the High Court to win control of the church and its property.

The matter turned political with the Zanu PF apologist Kunonga allegedly ordering the police to attack and forcefully evict congregations from another faction.

Kunonga is said to be forwarding and leaning on his anti-gay campaign to win favours from President Robert Mugabe.

He has often accused the other faction formally led by Sebastian Bakare of being pro-West and supporting gay rights.

Minister Holland revealed that in as much as the matter was religious, it had turned political with the police being used against one of the fighting factions.

Recently, media reports quoted co-Home Affairs Minister Giles Mutsekwa castigating the police for their biased actions.

The matter was temporarily eased by a High Court ruling last year that ordered the two rival groups to share the property while the matter was being dealt with.

The women expressed concern that the Anglican issue had deteriorated to an extent where it had to be discussed in cabinet.

He (Mutsekwa) also said that he had approached the Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri over the issue.

This was after some senior police officers were giving orders to attack and disperse the other faction not aligned to Kunonga from church gatherings.

The feud has in most cases turned bloody with worshippers trading blows after clashing over the use of church property.

Bishop of the other faction in Harare, Chad Gandiya said that the police continued to harass and fire teargas on members of his faction and said that they were not allowed access to their church property.