THE battle for control of the Harare Anglican Church Diocese took a new twist at the weekend when supporters of expelled former bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, allegedly
disrupted church services in the capital.
Church services failed to take place in Belvedere, Warren Park, Greendale, Marlborough and Glen View as Kunonga’s supporters insisted that he was in charge and that the recently appointed acting bishop, Sebastian Bakare, had nothing to do with Harare Diocese.
In Greendale, Rector Thomas Madeyi was arrested for allegedly disturbing a church service that was conducted by Kunonga at St Luke’s, Greendale, Church.
However, Madeyi was on Tuesday released after a prosecutor at the Harare Magistrates Courts said there was no case to answer for the rector.
Madeyi’s lawyer, Eric Matinenga, said the prosecutor ruled that the state had no tangible evidence against his client.
“The prosecutor said the case was petty and the rector was free to go,” Matinenga said.
But information gathered by the Zimbabwe Independent this week revealed that Kunonga’s supporters sparked the row that led to Madeyi’s arrest.
“Kunonga and crew caused our rector to be arrested and thrown into the cells at Rhodesville police station,” said a source.
The source alleged that Kunonga was the one who fought Madeyi in order to wrestle vestry keys from him.
“Keys to the church vestry were wrestled from our rector and Kunonga took the keys away,” the source said.
Another parishioner from the same church said Kunonga came to their church uninvited.
“The recognised Anglican Bishop of the Province of Central Africa, the Right Reverend Sebastian Bakare was scheduled to celebrate mass with us on that day during a combined 8.00 am service. We got to church just before 8.00 am and we found Kunonga already in the church with his wife and a couple of funny looking people, whom we later learnt were his bodyguards,” said the parishioner.
The parishioner said Kunonga threw away wine and smashed cups and wafers that were being prepared for the service in full view of a stunned congregation.
“As our front servers prepared for mass and as we waited for Bishop Bakare and our rector to emerge from the vestry, Kunonga unashamedly and in full view of the congregation, stood up, walked to the altar, grabbed the wine, cups and wafers, threw them on the ground, grabbed a chair, placed it right in front of the altar and sat cross-legged, defiantly gazing at the stunned congregation,” he said.
On Monday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, issued a statement condemning Kunonga for the disturbances at Anglican churches that took place last Sunday.