EXCOMMUNICATED Anglican Church Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga yesterday turned hostile and threatened to shoot journalists covering his eviction from church properties following a recent Supreme Court ruling which outlawed his seizure of church assets.
PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI/ FELUNA NLEYA
Kunonga arrived at the Harare Anglican Cathedral in the morning and found deputy sheriff Andrew Chakanyuka shipping out movable property from the cathedral’s pre-school located in the church basement.
The Supreme Court last week ruling in favour of the Church of the Province of Central Africa led by Bishop Chad Gandiya empowered the deputy sheriff to eject Kunonga and 10 others from the cathedral offices at Paget House along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and from 101 Central Avenue in Harare.
Kunonga’s priests and tenants had been given until end of the day on Tuesday to vacate the properties.
The irate Kunonga flew into a rage when photojournalists shot pictures of the evictions.
“Please don’t take pictures of me, please,” he said as he advanced towards NewsDay photojournalist Hardlife Samuwi.
“I will shoot you,” he shouted.
The threat took place in the presence of other journalists from the privately-owned Daily News.
Moments later he had another angry confrontation with the deputy sheriff after the latter demanded keys for the three church vehicles — a Toyota Hilux, a Toyota Fortuner and a Mazda 626 — that Kunonga is reportedly clinging to.
“I didn’t bring a car, leave me alone,” Kunonga said as he walked towards his lawyers’ offices at nearby Tanganyika Building.
Later in the afternoon, a security guard stationed at the cathedral was allegedly assaulted by men, believed to be hired bouncers, who were escorting Kunonga back into the cathedral.
The men were closely monitoring vehicles driving in and out of the premises after briefly taking over the property.
After the assault, a report was made to the police, following which members of the anti-riot police swooped on the scene and arrested six of the thugs who had been patrolling the premises menacingly.
Kunonga is believed to have left earlier in a vehicle with tinted windows before the arrival of the police.
Soon after the arrests, student priests from the Anglican Church’s Bishop Gaul Theological College arrived and forcibly broke the lock that had been placed by Kunonga and took over the cathedral.
Some members of the church who had gathered at the scene expressed shock at the turn of events, especially Kunonga’s apparent defiance of the Supreme Court ruling.
On Monday, Kunonga filed an urgent High Court chamber application seeking to stop his eviction from Anglican Church properties across the country, claiming that his priests would be rendered destitute.
The matter has been sat down for hearing by Judge President George Chiweshe next Tuesday.
Kunonga wants his priests and followers operating from Cathedral offices along Nelson Mandela Avenue, Paget House along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, offices at 101 Central Avenue and any other premises in dispute to be spared evictions pending determination of the matter.