As Nolbert Kunonga’s onslaught in the Anglican Church continues, schoolchildren at Daramombe Mission in Chivhu were on Friday left shepherdless after the Zanu PF-aligned bishop reportedly evicted headmasters, teachers and priests for allegedly aligning themselves with the diocese of his rival, Chad Gandiya.
The evictions come hard on the heels of similar action at a children’s home in Murehwa on Tuesday, where over 100 orphans were reportedly left in a similar predicament after caregivers, who included nuns, were chucked out.
A priest at Daramombe on Friday confirmed the evictions.
“The messenger of court came on Monday and I was evicted then. On Tuesday they came back again and evicted the headmasters of both the primary and secondary schools, and also some teachers including the boarding master.”
“They initially came in April and told us that the school was now under the Diocese of Harare and we should now be in his (Kunonga’s) congregation, but that is not what we wanted hence we were evicted,” the priest said.
The evictions come after the Kunonga faction wrote a circular to Anglican institutions, warning that those who did not play ball and worship under his diocese faced expulsions.
“This circular serves to notify you those teachers and non-teaching staff are to be removed or transferred elsewhere, since they are in disagreement with the ethos of the responsible authority, Diocese of Harare,” the letter read.
“Any head who does not take action concerning the issue will in turn be answerable to the Archbishop of the Diocese of Harare Anglican Church in Zimbabwe,” reads part of the letter.
On Tuesday, Kunonga caused a national stir when he unleashed a messenger of court at Shearly Cripps Children’s Home in Murehwa to evict caregivers looking after orphans.
The crisis has seen the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, David Coltart, clash with his deputy, Lazarus Dokora.
Said Coltart on Friday: “I unequivocally condemn this act . . . It is not in the interest of the schoolchildren that the authorities could just be changed like that at this time. This is detrimental to the students especially when this has to happen in the third term with public examinations about to start in the few coming weeks. I am, however, waiting for a report from the provincial office through the permanent secretary.”
The minister’s position is in sharp contrast to Dokora’s statements early this week, when he opted to fold arms.
“I understand there is a Supreme Court ruling and in the first instance headmasters are recommended by the church.
“They come from the responsible authorities and they look for their own teachers. We can’t intervene in issues of belief,” Dokora told NewsDay.
However, Kunonga’s actions come despite Thursday’s High Court decision to defer ruling on the wrangle in which Bishop Gandiya’s diocese is seeking stay of ejectment from church properties.
The ruling is set for September 23.