Clergy come face to face with police

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The Archbishop Chad Gandiya-led Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) last Tuesday came face to face with law enforcement after the police banned nearly 80 parishioners from holding their annual retreat at Peterhouse High School near Marondera.

Gandiya was among those ejected when police swooped on the venue saying the clergymen had not sought clearance to congregate as required under the Public Order and Security Act.

But police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka yesterday professed ignorance saying: “I am not aware of the development. I will find out.”

But his mobile phone went unanswered up to the time of going to print yesterday.

However, the CPCA did not take the police action lightly, saying ex-communicated leader Nolbert Kunonga is continuing from where he left off last year when he stormed numerous church-controlled institutions and evicted workers not aligned to him.

“The police claimed the Anglicans had not sought police clearance to gather for prayer as required in terms of the Public Order and Security Act. This is a clear indication that the police in Zimbabwe have no intention of protecting Anglicans in the CPCA, but have demonstrated their allegiance to the ex-communicated Anglican bishop Nolbert Kunonga,” the church’s spokesperson, Precious Shumba, said.

CPCA argued the police action was not proper and was a clear case of intimidation as Peterhouse was not even linked to the Anglican Church.

“Ironically, Peterhouse High School is a private school, with no linkage to ‘Kunonga’s’ Anglican Church except that the leadership has accepted to host the Anglican 2012 retreat, no crime under Zimbabwe’s laws.

“Bishop Gandiya went to the Police General Headquarters to try to reason with them about the eviction, but the police, led by a Superintendent Dube, insisted that the Anglicans had to vacate Peterhouse.”

There was drama, however, as the clergymen for a while reportedly refused to vacate the school, insisting the police could only remove them by force as they felt they had not broken any law.

Gandiya said the action by police was merely aimed at frustrating his church members.

“This is calculated harassment by some of the police officers. We deplore this action and call upon higher authorities to intervene,” he said.