Mohadi horrified by police action at Anglican Church


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The co-ministers of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa were horrified after being shown pictures of police activities at Anglican churches where supporters of Bishop Sebastian Bakare and Nolbert Kunonga were battling for assets of the church.

The feud between Bakare and Kunonga began when the Anglican Church expelled and excommunicated Kunonga in May 2008 after he unilaterally attempted to withdraw the diocese of Harare from the Anglican Church’s Central Africa Province.

Following Kunonga’s expulsion, he attempted to create his own church, the “Church of Zimbabwe,” and claimed personal ownership of the approximately 70 Anglican churches in Zimbabwe.

Bakare said that Kunonga had absolutely no credible claim to these properties, as the Anglican Church had held title to them since 1870.

Kunonga was accused of being openly-supportive of ZANU-PF policies, a passionate critic of homosexuality, and a Mugabe apologist.

His close political ties had earned him ownership of a seized farm as well as the support of Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE283, ANGLICAN CHURCH FEUD TURNS VIOLENT; POLICE BACK

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE283

2009-04-03 11:33

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8763

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0283/01 0931133

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 031133Z APR 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4325

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2755

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2877

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1323

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2142

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2498

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2925

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5366

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2044

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000283

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ANGLICAN CHURCH FEUD TURNS VIOLENT; POLICE BACK

ZANU-PF BISHOP

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) The head of the Anglican Church in Harare, Bishop

Sebastian Bakare, met with poloff on March 31 to discuss the

escalating feud and resultant violence stemming from the

rivalry between the official Anglican Church and a rogue

faction headed by Bakare’s predecessor, expelled Bishop

Nolbert Kunonga. During the past couple of weeks, police

have barred Anglican Church worshippers from holding services

and have used tear gas and riot police to break up

congregations in Harare-area parishes. One bystander was

sho as police haphazardly fired warning shots. Police

Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has unabashedly supported

Kunonga. The MDC and ZANU-PF co-ministers of Home Affairs

called in both rivals to quell the animosity, but ultimately

deferred the matter to the Attorney General’s office. END

SUMMARY.

 

——————————————— —

After Expulsion ZANU-PF Bishop Claims Properties

——————————————— —

 

2. (C) The feud between the interim head of the Anglican

Church in Harare, Bishop Sebastian Bakare, and his

predecessor, former head Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, began when

the Anglican Church expelled and excommunicated Kunonga in

May 2008 after he unilaterally attempted to withdraw the

diocese of Harare from the Anglican Church’s Central Africa

Province. Kunonga lost the support of church parishioners

for being openly-supportive of ZANU-PF policies, a passionate

critic of homosexuality, and a Mugabe apologist. Kunonga’s

close political ties earned him ownership of a seized farm as

well as the support of Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri.

Bakare told poloff that he had a copy of a letter from

Kunonga to Chihuri, thanking him for his police support.

 

3. (C) Following Kunonga’s expulsion, he attempted to create

his own church, the “Church of Zimbabwe,” and claimed

personal ownership of the approximately 70 Anglican churches

in Zimbabwe. Bakare said that Kunonga has absolutely no

credible claim to these properties, as the Anglican Church

had held title to them since 1870. Various cases have been

brought before Zimbabwe’s High Court to legally resolve the

issue; however, the High Court has failed to make a

definitive ruling. Bakare said that the case had become a

joke, as often times Kunonga’s lawyers failed to appear. He

believed that political pressure had prevented the court from

upholding the Anglican Church’s case. The High Court did

provide the recommendation that the two rivals share use of

church facilities, dividing access into morning and evening

segments. However, Kunonga did not approve of this

compromise and had told his supporters to lock all buildings.

Bakare, in turn, has refused to be barred and has

aggressively pushed forward, gaining access to some churches

Qaggressively pushed forward, gaining access to some churches

and urging his supporters to hold services outside of locked

parishes.

 

—————————————–

Police Intimidate and Teargas Worshippers

—————————————–

 

4. (SBU) Riot police began appearing at Anglican services

throughout Harare and surrounding areas during the past two

weeks. At a Bakare sermon in Mabvuku last week, riot police

attempted to remove him from the altar. Bakare refused to

budge, though the police were able to drive his parishioners

 

HARARE 00000283 002 OF 002

 

 

out of the church.

 

5. (SBU) Then on March 29 skirmishes broke out in Budiriro

and Glenview between police and parishioners. One bystander

was accidentally shot in the arm as police fired warning

shots. Tear gas was used on worshippers in Glen Norah and

Highfield, and in Glen View police were waiting inside a

church to ambush parishioners. These locations are all

Harare townships. Two priests, a church warden, and two

church members have been arrested in relation to these

incidents.

 

—————————————-

Ministry of Home Affairs Punts to the AG

—————————————-

 

6. (C) Bishop Bakare and Kunonga were invited to meet with

the two Home Affairs ministers, Giles Mutsekwa of the MDC-T

and Kembo Mohadi of ZANU-PF, on April 1. After being shown

pictures of the police activities at churches, Bakare said

that the two ministers )- under whom oversight of the police

falls — were “horrified.” They intended to take steps to

quell the police activities, but referred ultimate

arbitration of the matter to the Attorney General’s office.

(COMMENT: The Attorney General is a ZANU-PF stalwart, and it

would be unreasonable to believe he would support Bakare’s

position. END COMMENT.)

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) Police involvement in the Anglican Church feud is an

indication that law and order continues to be politicized in

Zimbabwe. Despite co-management of Home Affairs by the

MDC-T, Chihuri appears to still wield operational control of

the police. MDC-T Home Affairs Minister Mutsekwa’s actions

and public statements indicate that he is carefully walking a

political tightrope — aware of police abuses, but leery of

implementing change too rapidly and alienating himself. A

test will be to see the police reaction to this Sunday’s

services, as well as a mass on April 9 where all the Anglican

priests will be present for the annual rededication of their

vows. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(11 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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