Anglicans resort to ‘bush service’

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Members of the Anglican Church aligned to Bishop Chad Gandiya at Daramombe Mission in Chivhu have been forced to hold their church services under a tree in the bush as they have been barred from using the church building at the mission after they were evicted by a group aligned to excommunicated cleric Nolbert Kunonga.

When NewsDay arrived at the mission, former overseer Reverend Muyengwa Murombedzi was conducting the “bush service” for the Mothers’ Union Thursday service.

Some of the elderly women, clad in their white and blue strip uniform, said they would not be deterred by what was happening in the church’s corridors of power and would march on with the gospel.

They vowed to stick with their ousted leadership through thick and thin, saying Murombedzi was a mere victim of Kunonga’s “unGodly” onslaught.

Because of their continued affiliation to Murombedzi, those who have refused to recognise Kunonga as the head of the church no longer have access to the church building.

Murombedzi’s wife, Veronica, said a Good Samaritan offered them a place to live after they were bundled out of the mission accommodation by the Kunonga group, which also subsequently threatened their sympathisers.

“We were dumped with our four children and we slept in the open that night before the headman gave us a place to stay. Now he is being victimised for accommodating us and there have been threats to destroy his homestead,” she said. Uncertainty is looming over the mission following the expulsion of key administrative personnel affiliated to Gandiya.

Murombedzi said he was booted out together with five others, the headmaster and his deputy, the matron and boarding master as well as the nurse in charge at the hospital, because they were believed to be influential figures at the mission and were likely to interfere with Kunonga’s blitz.

The officials had refused to turn up for a meeting organised by Kunonga on May 4 this year and that was interpreted as rebellion.

“When we refused, they started targeting people in key areas, particularly those at the school and the clinic,” Murombedzi said.

Murombedzi, a signatory to the hospital account, said the school and hospital were likely to be affected by the developments.

He vowed that he would not abandon the flock he had shepherded for a long time.

“We have a big flock here and we cannot abandon them now. Those who evicted us are fighting to ensure that we don’t have a place for worship and a place to stay.”

The new overseer, identified as Reverend Mugomo, refused to comment on the matter. The acting deputy headmaster, Jasper Makuyana, said the school was running normally.

He said: “When we realised that among those who left were signatories, we quickly rectified that and we did it in just a day. We realised that if we did not do it, the situation was going to cripple the system because without money you cannot buy the resources you need to run the school.”

However, the fear now is that these developments may affect the school which was last year rated as one with the fifth best “A” Level results in Zimbabwe.
The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been in turmoil ever since the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), the church’s supreme authority in the region, excommunicated Kunonga.

lMeanwhile, High Court Judge, Justice Tendai Uchena has dismissed an application by the Leader of the mainstream Anglican group, Bishop Chad Gandiya, who was challenging the eviction of worshippers aligned to him from Anglican Church properties by excommunicated Bishop, Norbert Kunonga.

In his judgement delivered yesterday, Justice Uchena said he had no jurisdiction to interfere with the order that was granted by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku at Supreme Court.

In August, the Chief Justice ruled that while he reinstated the appeal filed by the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), he categorically stated that “the appeal shall not suspend the operation of the order” giving the ex-communicated Kunonga full custody of Anglican properties.

The Kunonga saga also spilled into Parliament on Wednesday when MDC-T MPs, during the question and answer session, demanded to know why the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture was folding arms in the wake of Kunonga’s onslaught.

Zengeza West MP, Collen Gwiyo demanded to know from the Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, Lazarus Dokora why his ministry was not doing enough to stop Kunonga from destroying the education system.

However, Gwiyo’s plea was fruitless as Dokora refused to discuss the matter in the House of Assembly citing that it was now a matter before the courts.