Reports on events at the Anglican Cathedral on Sun 17 Feb 08, from a Warden

REPORT ON SUNDAY 17 FEBRUARY 2008, CATHEDRAL OF ST MARY AND ALL SAINTS MASS 12:30 PM

My name is Sekai Joyce Chibaya and I am the Churchwarden at the Cathedral of St Mary and All Saints. I arrived at the Cathedral at approximately 12:10 to start [to] prepare for our 12:30 service. I phoned the Deputy Sheriff Mr. Zimbiti to just locate where he was. There were about sixty odd people already waiting outside to get into the church at the corner of Nelson Mandela and Second Street.At 12:30 I walked to the Deputy Sheriff and advised him that it was now our turn to start the service. He advised me that as soon as his locksmith arrives, they would then start their work. Within minutes, the locksmith arrived and he asked how he gets access in the Cathedral. I told him that as you can see all doors are locked but they could use the back entrance along Kwame Nkrumah to access. The two men then went to the back entrance. Whilst they were there, one of the choir members advised me that the Deputy Sheriff wanted me to phone Mr. Moyo and confirm whether Kunonga had appealed against [the] Makarau judgement. I phoned Mr. Moyo who advised that he was not aware of any such appeal.
I then went to the back entrance to advise the Deputy Sheriff of what Mr. Moyo had said. When I got there, I found that the main gate had been opened and the Police were arguing with the Deputy Sheriff that he had “broken and entered” as the writ did not specifically say he should “break and enter”. The police at the gate then called riot Police who came in and beat all the people who were standing by the gate. They later bundled us all into their truck to go to the charge office.
At the charge office we went into the DO’s office and were told our statements will be taken but nothing happened. Two hours later, Superintendent Tawengwa came and advised that the case was civil and therefore we should go back to court to report that Kunonga was in contempt of court and there was nothing they as Police would do. We were all told to go back home/church.
We then went back to the Cathedral [and] proceeded with our service outside the church in the apron, car park at 15:25. The 150 odd congregants were still waiting for us to come back from the police to start the service. We had a wonderful service that finished at about 1700hrs. Once again, Kunonga has violated the court order by locking us out of church with the full support of the Police. He has violated our rights as Cathedral parishioners to pray in peace.
ENDS

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