It would be interesting to know how many people attended these two services. And following the two meetings a week ago with very senior police officers, it is surprising that the report says they ‘had to hire the police force’.
Alternative services were held in about eight Harare parishes on 6 January where the priests are supporting Dr Kunonga but the parishioners have voted overwhelmingly to support Bishop Bakare.
We will send out further news as it becomes available.
Mugabe churchman conducts rival service in Harare
From Zim Online (SA), 7 January
By Nigel Hangarume
Harare – There was chaos at the Anglican St Mary’s and All Saints Cathedral in Harare yesterday after ousted controversial bishop Nolbert Kunonga held a rival service under heavy police presence. Kunonga, who is a vocal supporter of President Robert Mugabe, is refusing to leave office as archbishop of Harare after he arbitrarily pulled out the diocese from the Province of Central Africa. The Province of Central has since appointed the retired Bishop Sebastian Bakare to take over from Kunonga. On Saturday, Father Morris Brown Gwedegwe claimed Kunonga was still in charge of the diocese. “The only bishop who is there is Bishop Kunonga and you can see that all priests attended our meeting,” Gwedegwe said. But events proved otherwise yesterday when the majority of the Cathedral parishioners attended a service in the church’s hall conducted by Father Webster Mahwindo, who had been posted to Bindura by Kunonga two years ago. Kunonga’s faction held its own service at the same time in the main church, led by Father Caxton Mabhoyi. “We decided at our vestry on Saturday that we should hold a separate service because we no longer recognise Bishop Kunonga,” a warden of the Bakare faction announced yesterday. “Bishop Bakare will be formally appointed at a function which the leaders of the Province of Central Africa will attend on February 3, and we hope our colleagues would have seen the light and joined us.” The warden said they had to hire the police force for protection during the service after violent skirmishes that have rocked the diocese since Bakare’s appointment. Kunonga’s supporters have allegedly been attacking parishioners who back Bakare. Kunonga has in the past vociferously defended Mugabe over his controversial policies particularly the violent seizure of white farms for redistribution to landless blacks eight years ago.