By Lance Guma
The ousted Anglican Bishop of Harare Nolbert Kunonga has urged Zimbabweans to vote for Robert Mugabe in the March 29 election. Kunonga who continues to defy his dismissal from the Anglican Church and is blocking worshippers from the cathedral in Harare, claimed Mugabe was Zimbabwe’s anointed leader. The remarks came as no surprise, given the former bishop has relied on state security for protection and continues to receive immunity from arrest despite violating three court orders governing the use of the cathedral. He has on several occasions assaulted parishioners trying to access the cathedral for Sunday services.Kunonga justified his support for Mugabe by saying; ‘As the church we see the President with different eyes. To us he is a prophet of God who was sent to deliver the people of Zimbabwe from bondage.’ The former bishop, who received a farm from Mugabe’s regime, wasted no time in talking about the controversial land reform programme. Referring to Mugabe Kunonga said, ‘God raised him to acquire our land and distribute it to Zimbabweans; we call it democracy of the stomach. There is no Government without soil. As the church we are totally against sanctions for they are destroying our country.”
Bishop Sebastian Bakare, who replaced Kunonga, told Newsreel they were not surprised by his comments. He says the church has always suspected Kunonga was more interested in politics than the church. Bakare said the church was home to people from different political parties and it was not proper for its leaders to urge support for a particular candidate in the election. Meanwhile Bakare says he has advised his parishioners not to use the cathedral because Kunonga ‘defiled it’ by sleeping, cooking and eating inside. ‘We will need a ceremony to cleanse the cathedral before we can use it,’ Bakare said.