Clarification on current status of various legal cases – 1 Feb 08

It has come to our attention that reports have already been circulating since yesterday that the Courts have ruled in favour of the CPCA in terms of ownership of church buildings, which is wonderful news, and we can all return to our churches and continue worshipping there as we have longed to do.
 
This is not the case. The purpose of this posting is to clarify the facts of the matter as they currently stand, which is as follows: 
– This week, Dr Kunonga brought an urgent court application seeking to bar CPCA from using church buildings, ie., to overturn the ruling given by Judge Makarau on 18-19 Jan 08.
 
– The application was heard yesterday by Judge Hungwe, who dismissed the case with costs.
 
– Therefore the legal situation regarding use of church buildings by CPCA and the Kunonga faction HAS NOT YET changed, and the ruling given by Judge Makarau on 18-19 Jan still applies.
 
– This case has no bearing on the case regarding overall ownership of the assets of the Diocese of Harare, which is still in process.
 
– This case is also not related to the charges of contempt of court which the CPCA filed against Kunonga earlier in the week. We understand that this case is due to be heard this afternoon, as reported on Zim Online and in ZW News yesterday (included below).
 
We trust this serves to clarify the current position: sad, and complicated, but not resolved yet…
 
ZWNEWS
31 January 2008
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From Zim Online (SA), 31 January
Church files contempt charges against pro-Mugabe bishop

 

By Cuthbert Nzou
Harare – Zimbabwe Anglican church authorities have filed contempt of court charges against ousted bishop Nolbert Kunonga for defying a High Court ruling ordering him not to interfere with church services. The application comes two weeks after High Court Judge Rita Makarau ordered Kunonga not to interfere with church services conducted by acting bishop Sebastian Bakare at the church’s Cathedral of Saint Mary and All Saints in Harare. In an affidavit filed at the High Court, Reverend Christopher Tapera, the secretary of Harare diocese, alleged that on January 20 Kunonga, who was in the company of one Reverend Munyanyi, disrupted services at the cathedral in flagrant violation of Makarau’s order. In a supporting affidavit, cathedral sub-deacon Stanislaus Tsingo, said Kunonga barred Bakare from celebrating mass with parishioners and openly boasted that he did not care about the court order prohibiting him from interfering with services conducted by Bakare. “As we entered the church in the traditional ceremony with Bishop Bakare, I noticed the 1st respondent (Kunonga) had now removed all the altar coverings leaving the altar bare,” Tsingo said in the affidavit.
Kunonga, leader of Harare diocese until he was removed by the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) to which the diocese belongs, allegedly told Bakare that he (Kunonga) was still legitimate leader of the church and that he was not going to let a situation where there were two leaders in the troubled diocese. Tsingo said at one point he feared that Kunonga was going to assault Bakare after he grabbed the altar missal from the later and violently threw it to the ground in full view of parishioners. The High Court is set to hear the matter tomorrow. Zimbabwean police have in the past been called to quell violent skirmishes blamed on Kunonga’s supporters. The clergyman, a strong supporter of President Robert Mugabe’s controversial policies particularly his seizure of white farms for redistribution to landless blacks, has tried to defend the Zimbabwean leader’s policies from the pulpit. The CPCA says Kunonga, a recipient of land seized from a white farmer, was deemed to have resigned last September after he unilaterally attempted to withdraw Harare diocese from the CPCA ostensibly because the regional church authority was too soft towards gays.

ENDS

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