Police bar Bishop Gandiya from Mizeki shrine

Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, has lashed out at his rival Nolbert Kunonga, accusing him of using a “non-existent” issue of homosexuality to gain favours from Zanu PF.

Gandiya said this in an interview with NewsDay in Marondera over the weekend during the commemoration of the church’s martyr Bernard Mizeki, attended by over 15 000 of his followers.

“There is no way we can condone homosexuality. However, our calling is to serve God’s people. It’s like saying we have thieves so we can’t preach to them, but that is my job.”

The Gandiya faction of the church resorted to using a showground in Marondera after it was barred from accessing the shrine where Mizeki disappeared in 1896, the traditional venue for the ceremony.

“Kunonga is behaving like a thug and is abusing the police. The police don’t even have a document justifying their denying us access and we wonder whose instruction they are following,” he said.

Police details were posted about three kilometres from the shrine and barred Gandiya and his followers from going there.

Gandiya said his people were denied access to the Bernard Mizeki Shrine by the police who said they were working under instructions.

“This morning we sent people and they found the police at the shrine and told people that they were not welcome. My question is that are they genuine police officers or they are from a rogue police force?”

Gandiya rubbished allegations that he was dabbling in politics.

“Most of the people here, you will be surprised are Zanu PF, but it’s not about politics. A church is home to everyone regardless of political affiliation,” he said.

The two camps have been engaged in bruising fights over church assets.

Kunonga said the courts had declared him the legitimate leader of the church and this meant the Bernard Mizeki Shrine, and every other asset of the church, were under his custody.

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