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Jakazi leaves after losing final appeal

by
08 March 2013

by Pat Ashworth

ACNS

All smiles now: Dr Julius Makoni ACNS

All smiles now: Dr Julius Makoni ACNS

THE excommunicated former Bishop of Manicaland, Elson Jakazi, an ally of the excommunicated former Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, has lost his final appeal in the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.

The judgment, by Justice Vernanda Ziyambi, ends the series of legal challenges that has ensued since both bishops broke away from the province of Central Africa in September 2007, and violently ousted the legitimate congregations from their buildings and offices. The bishops continued to claim legitimacy, forcing the rightful Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) to contest it in the courts, where the legal cases suffered from political influence by President Mugabe.

All the outstanding issues came to the Supreme Court last October (News, 25 October), when the first action of the three judges was to uphold a decision made in 2010 by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu. He had thrown out Jakazi's appeal, ruling that, as he had voluntarily resigned, he had no right to stop the consecration of a new bishop, and was in no position to "complain or cry foul".

Jakazi appealed in December 2012 against the October ruling. He has no further recourse to the courts, and is reported to have vacated the diocesan offices on Saturday, after last week's judgment. The Bishop of Manicaland, Dr Julius Makoni, said that the judgment brought the period of uncertainty for the diocese to an end. The Church now knew where it stood, and could start the process of rebuilding the properties.

He has described the experience of the past few years as "difficult and excruciating, but, being a people of faith, we knew there was a purpose in all this. . . We knew that God would not abandon us and that we would win at the end of the day."

He has also urged graciousness in victory: "We should now look with compassion on our brothers on the other side, and let them know we are the light, and they should come and join us."

There are reports that some former supporters of Jakazi were present among CPCA congregations as they returned to their buildings on Sunday.

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