From the Diocese of Harare, CPCA
Highlands Police today (Tuesday 6 September 2011) arrested Reverend Julius Zimbudzana, the priest in charge at St Mary’s Anglican Church for allegedly taking over Anglican church property worth over US$1.5 million as police intensified their persecution of the Anglican Church, hiding behind unjust court rulings.
Dr Nicholas Chad Gandiya, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare in the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) immediately dismissed the charge as persecution of the Anglicans under the CPCA by
the police, acting on the instructions of the ex-communicated Dr Nolbert Kunonga.
“That [accusation against Revd Julius] is unfounded, baseless and without foundation,” Bishop Gandiya said. “This is very strange indeed as no parish in our diocese (perhaps the exception of the Cathedral Parish) has properties worth that much. He has been refused bail. The police claim they have clear instructions not to release him.”
The Bishop says the intense persecution of the Anglican clergy under the CPCA has clearly gotten out of hand and most clergymen are traumatised by these sad developments. What has become apparent in these attacks is that rogue elements within the police are listening to instructions coming from Kunonga to use the law to abuse innocent people, denying them of their right to worship.
While Reverend Zimbudzana was arrested in the morning, Bishop Gandiya was only allowed access to the incarcerated priest at 6pm, as the police spent the whole day moving the priest from his residence and the Highlands Anglican Church claiming they wanted to inspect the properties stolen.
“They then brought a desk, a refrigerator that they claimed belonged to the church, and a Mothers’ Union (MU) banner,” Gandiya said. “Vari kuedza kutsvagiridza nyaya (They are desperate for a conviction). It looks like they just want to keep him detained as part of the harassment showing the clear breakdown of the rule of law.”
Reverend Zimbudzana’s arrest comes in the wake of the 4 August 2011 ruling by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku in his Chambers in which he ruled that all Anglican properties in the Diocese of Harare were
under the custody of Kunonga. At the same time Chidyausiku allowed an appeal by the CPCA against this determination to stand, but went on to refuse this appeal to suspend an earlier judgement by High Court
Justice Hlatshwayo, a normal judicial and legal practice the world over.
CPCA lawyers are busy trying to secure the release of Reverend Zimbudzana and ensure other clergymen are free from further persecution. The right of worship as enshrined in the Country’s Constitution has been violated and the CPCA calls on the national political leadership to immediately intervene and put a stop to Kunonga’s abuse of the police services.
For details and comments visit http://www.hreanglicancpca.org.zw/ or email us on email@example.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org