Kunonga fails to maintain Anglican Church properties


Controversial Harare Anglican Church cleric, Bishop Nolbert Kunonga is failing to manage the assets of the Archdiocese of Harare whose control he assumed following a court battle with the Church of the Province of Central Africa.
Tenants at one of the properties, Pax House in Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, are complaining about an elevator that has been out of order for more than a month now.
Kunonga won custody and control of the Anglican Church properties in Zimbabwe after a protracted court battle that spilt into the church where worshippers engaged in bloody battles; trading Bibles for rocks.
Among the properties that Kunonga has taken control of are Paget House and Pax House, both in Kwame Nkrumah Avenue in Harare.
Pax House has 10 floors and the different floors are occupied by companies who pay rentals to Kunonga’s administration.
The Parliament of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Water Authority and several law firms are among the tenants.
The tenants complain that despite the state of the building, Kunonga was quick to evict tenants who failed to pay rent on time.
For the whole period that the elevators have been dysfunctional, people have had to endure walking up the steps to the 10th floor.
“For some it might be good exercise but exercise should be by choice”, said an angry elderly woman who rents offices at Pax House.
A man slipped and fell on the stairs leading to the fourth floor and was badly injured,” another tenant said.
“Two weeks ago, I witnessed an accident where a man fell on the fourth floor and almost broke his back”, said a woman who works at Pax House and witnessed the incident.
“Going up 10 floors using the stairs can be dangerous and accidents can happen,” said Rosemary Kondo, a woman who often visits Pax House.
Workers at Pax House said the elevators had been shut down by National Social Security Authority (Nssa) after failing a safety test.
They said Nssa found that the elevators had faulty fuses and wiring when they checked them.
But tenants at the building have revealed that Kunonga’s administration is failing to pay for the repairs of the elevators.
Kunonga’s workers tried to blame Schindler elevator company for putting fake parts on the elevators, resulting in Nssa shutting them down.
A maintenance manager at Schindler who declined to be named, referred the matter to Nssa inspectors and said his job was only to repair the elevators when asked to do so.
Kenny Muvi, an inspector with Nssa said that Nssa only inspected all elevators to ensure that workers were safe.
“If tenants have a complaint that the elevators have been out of order for a long time, then that is an issue they have to solve with their landlord,” Muvi said. “Nssa only inspects to see if the elevators at work places are safe for employees.”
He said government gazetted fees to be paid to Nssa by owners of buildings with elevators. The fees are $100 per elevator and $10 per landing. These fees are paid per annually, he explained.
“When elevators are out of order, tenants should ask their landlord to service them so that Nssa can re-commission them and certify that they are now safe for use again”, he said.
An officer in charge of rentals at Kunonga’s offices, who gave her name only as “Mrs Mbutsa”, admitted that Nssa had certified that the elevators were not safe for use.
She admitted that the elevators were certified unsafe because of a problem with fuses and that the church was still to pay Nssa fees for elevator fees as gazetted.
“We might be sorting out the problem tomorrow”, Mbutsa said on Tuesday.
When Newsday visited the building yesterday, the elevators were still not working.