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
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.