POLICE in Harare on Wednesday forcibly evicted Nolbert Kunonga,
the excommunicated former Bishop of Harare, from the diocesan
offices, after he failed to comply with a court order (
News, 23 November).
The move was not without its drama. The deadline was 4 p.m. on
Monday, but, as the hour approached, Kunonga engaged a new lawyer
and went to the High Court for an application to stop the
He was still claiming to be the legitimate Bishop of Harare,
despite the Supreme Court judgment of last week, which ruled that
the Rt Revd Chad Gandiya was the rightful Bishop, and that all
property seized by Kunonga and his followers must be returned, and
Kunonga appeared in the High Court in Harare on Tuesday,
claiming to have taken the churches "from the British", a stance
Bishop Gandiya described as "madness" and "totally
Speaking just minutes after the eviction on Wednesday, he
reflected: "It's a long road to freedom. . . But now Kunonga is no
longer located in the main diocesan office, this will send a clear
message out to all his clergy, who have been lied to."
Bishop Gandiya had expected resistance, but had sought,
nevertheless, to have the business conducted amicably and
Kunonga's followers, however, demanded eviction orders before
agreeing to move out. These were being served from last Friday.
Congregations began in great jubilation to return to their church
buildings on Sunday, and some held midweek services, although the
picture is still patchy.
All the buildings, many of which have been violated, misused, or
put to secular use, are to be cleansed, beginning with St Mary's
Cathedral on 16 December. The cathedral stands opposite Africa
Unity Square, where Anglicans are expected to gather in huge
numbers for a thanksgiving, before as many as can be accommodated
process into the building for its rededication.
Bishop Gandiya said that his churches now had an unexpected
problem as a result of the adversity that they had endured. "Many
of our congregations have grown so much that they no longer fit
into the buildings. That's a cause of great jubilation," he
But the diocese of Harare faces huge financial problems as it
reclaims the properties. Kunonga's occupiers have not been paying
bills, and large amounts of money are owed to local authorities and
to energy companies. In just one parish, Glen View, the outstanding
energy bill is reported to be in the region of $12,000.