MEMBERS of the Chad Gandiya-led Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) could not hide their joy yesterday as they worshipped at their church buildings for the first time in five years following an ownership wrangle which barred them from setting foot at the premises.
Report by Feluna Nleya
The latest development followed last Monday’s Supreme Court ruling which gave Gandiya sole custody of the CPCA properties following a protracted wrangle with excommunicated Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga.
NewsDay yesterday toured several Anglican Churches in Harare where worshippers loyal to Gandiya were observed conducting sermons outside their buildings, but within the church premises following a diocesan directive not to enter the buildings until after the December 16 cleansing ceremony.
Gandiya and his followers retained control of the disputed properties following a Supreme Court ruling last Monday.
CPCA spokesperson Precious Shumba said they held peaceful church services at most centres with the exception of St Columbus in Kuwadzana where an alleged Kunonga priest Takokera Tandi allegedly threatened CPCA wardens Felix Tashaya and Anthony Nyakama with death and violence after the pair stormed the premises.
Police later intervened and restored order, Shumba said.
“We did not have any challenges today, as they gave way for us. I think they know that they do not have a choice as we are basing on a Supreme Court judgment,” said Shumba.
“But there is a standing position from the diocese that we should not use the altars until we hold the cleansing ceremony. We are utilising this time to document every asset. There are missing benches and a lot was vandalised. So we want to see what we have and what is missing in monetary value,” said Shumba.
St Michaels and All Angels Mbare Church warden Tinei Mhundwa said: “First, we are giving praise to God for all that has happened that we have been given back our churches,” said Mhundwa.
In Mbare, the Kunonga-led congregants could be seen holding their church service at a house opposite the Anglican Church building.
Elsewhere, other Kunonga followers were reportedly worshipping in their members’ homes.
Both Kunonga and his adviser Reverend Admire Chisango were unreachable for comment.
Gandiya visited several churches in Budiriro, Marlborough and Malbereign to assess the situation on the ground.
Kunonga fell out with the main Anglican Church after he declined to denounce President Robert Mugabe’s government’s alleged human rights abuses.
He was eventually excommunicated in 2008 before he formed his own Anglican Province of Zimbabwe where he installed himself archbishop.