Mohadi, Mutsekwa mired in Kunonga saga


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The co-Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa were mired in the Nolbert Kunonga saga after police continued to side with the ex-communicated Anglican bishop who continued to fight to have rights to the assets of the church.

Mordecai Mahlangu, lawyer for the Anglican Church filed an urgent application with the High Court for contempt of court against Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, Mohadi and Mutsekwa.

He wanted to force Chihuri and the two ministers to direct the police to stop interfering with the activities of the church and observe a 2008 High Court judgment.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE970, FORMER ZIMBABWE ANGLICAN BISHOP DISRUPTS CHURCH

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE970

2009-12-15 13:25

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7211

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0970/01 3491325

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 151325Z DEC 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5220

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3211

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3322

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1746

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2580

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2949

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0010

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0012

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2489

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000970

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

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

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: FORMER ZIMBABWE ANGLICAN BISHOP DISRUPTS CHURCH

ACTIVITIES AGAIN

 

HARARE 00000970 001.2 OF 003

 

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) A recent series of church disruptions mark a

resurgence of the heated dispute between the Anglican Church

in the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) and a breakaway

faction led by former CPCA Bishop Nolbert Kunonga. The

latest actions by Kunonga and his followers further undermine

the tenuous agreement brokered by the High Court of Zimbabwe

in January 2008, allowing the two parties to share church

premises pending a final court determination. The dispute

has assumed political significance as Kunonga has leveraged

his ZANU-PF ties to gain the support of the police. END

SUMMARY.

 

——————————–

Background: Kunonga vs. the CPCA

——————————–

 

2. (SBU) Dr. Nolbert Kunonga was the bishop for the Harare

Diocese of the Anglican Church in the Province of Central

Africa (CPCA). In 2007, he broke from the CPCA citing the

CPCA’s approach to homosexuality, which he felt was too

liberal. He then formed a rival church and appointed himself

its archbishop. However, Kunonga refused to surrender the

assets of the CPCA and continued to access the church’s

financial resources. He then embarked on a campaign to

prevent the CPCA from worshipping in church buildings and —

using his political connections to ZANU-PF — enlisted police

support. Several priests were arrested and prosecuted during

2008 and 2009 for holding CPCA church services in contested

properties.

 

3. (SBU) In 2007, the CPCA filed suit in the High Court

seeking to bar Kunonga from utilizing its facilities and

other assets. This was followed by a January 2008 High Court

ruling that stated that the Kunonga faction and the CPCA must

share church premises by scheduling church services at

different times. Despite the court order, Kunonga’s faction

has periodically denied the CPCA use of church premises. As

the conflict intensified, the co-ministers of Home Affairs,

Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa, intervened to rein in

Kunonga, his followers, and heavy-handed police.

 

4. (SBU) In July 2009, Judge Hlatshwayo, at the request of

Kunonga, issued an order that the CPCA had not properly

excommunicated Kunonga and that he retained his position as

bishop. Kunonga hoped to use the order to prevent the

coronation of the new bishop for the CPCA in Harare.

However, the CPCA appealed and the ruling was suspended,

clearing the way for the coronation of the new bishop, Chad

Gandiya.

 

—————————————

Kunonga Claims He’s Still the Bishop…

—————————————

 

5. (SBU) CPCA Registrar Mike Chingore told Political

Specialist that Kunonga was buoyed by the Hlatshwayo judgment

and claimed never to have left the church. He said that

Kunonga maintains he is the only lawful head of the church

and is attempting to regain his position.

 

——————————–

…and is Back to his Old Tricks

Q…and is Back to his Old Tricks

——————————–

 

6. (SBU) The CPCA reported that in the past two weeks

Kunonga followers prevented CPCA members from attending mass,

 

HARARE 00000970 002.2 OF 003

 

 

disrupted services, and forced the cancellation of three

weddings. On December 6, Kunonga supporters — with the

support of police officers — locked the gates to the

Highfield church, preventing about 1,000 parishioners from

worshipping. When the local priest, Reverend Selemani,

demanded to know on whose authority the police were acting,

he was told they were acting “on higher orders.” A member of

the Highfield church reported that the police accused the

church of supporting the MDC-T. On December 5, police

disrupted three weddings at the Budiriro church, resulting in

their cancellation. On November 28, police drove away

parishioners from a Murehwa church — about 100 km from

Harare — as they prepared to take communion. At the

Kuwadzana church, police padlocked the doors before mass.

Similar situations unfolded in Glen Norah, Glen View,

Hatfield, Marlborough, and Tafara.

 

——————-

Police Back Kunonga

——————-

 

7. (SBU) Chingore told us that Kunonga and his followers had

disrupted church activities with the assistance of some

sections of the police. He said the police had consistently

refused to arrest Kunonga followers breaking the law. Police

defended their actions by stating that they were merely

following orders from unnamed superiors. Chingore said that

they were deterred from filing criminal reports because of

the biased police position. He went on to state that CPCA

members were becoming impatient with the impunity with which

the police and Kunonga supporters had acted.

 

————————

CPCA Goes To Court Again

————————

 

8. (SBU) CPCA lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu told us he filed an

urgent application in the High Court on December 11 for

contempt of court against the Commissioner General of Police,

Augustine Chihuri, and Co-Ministers of Home Affairs, Giles

Mutsekwa (MDC-T) and Kembo Mohadi (ZANU-PF). He wants the

court to force Chihuri and the two ministers to direct the

police to stop interfering with the activities of the church

and to observe the 2008 High Court judgment. He said he did

not expect the court to hear the case soon because of the

likelihood of political sensitivity.

 

——————————

Alternative: Peaceful Protest?

——————————

 

9. (SBU) The new Bishop of the Harare Diocese, Chad Gandiya,

met with priests and wardens on December 11 to try to develop

a strategic response to Kunonga,s conduct. The church

registrar told us that a lot of members were increasingly

voicing a need for robust and effective responses to the

disruptions. Some were in favor of peaceful protests against

police actions.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

10. (SBU) We have long witnessed police reticence to

maintain the rule of law in rural areas, most commonly on

contested farms. However, police tolerance for illegal

actions by Kunonga supporters in Harare indicates that there

Qactions by Kunonga supporters in Harare indicates that there

are no limits to the extent shrewd operators like Kunonga can

politicize a dispute. Growing impatience within CPCA ranks

could lead to more violent confrontations if the issue

 

HARARE 00000970 003.2 OF 003

 

 

remains unaddressed. END COMMENT.

 

RAY

(8 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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