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Court Ends Six-Year Seizure of Zimbabwe Churches

(UPDATED) 'Renegade' clergyman may use president's reelection to start new campaign of 'brutality.'

Update (Aug. 13, 2013): The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) reports that defrocked Anglican bishop Nolbert Kunonga, a friend of president Robert Mugabe, may be putting churches and Christians in danger once again. According to CSM, Kunonga sent thugs to break into the home of Chad Gandiya, the chief Anglican bishop in Zimbabwe, and steal records of church personnel.

"On the heels of a contested 'landslide' election where Mugabe promised to expand 'reform' policies that earlier led to evictions of white farmers from their land, a variety of Protestant and Catholic churches, despite being largely black, are again worried," CSM states.

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(Update: Bishop Nolbert Kunonga has launched a legal counterattack in a bid to retain the churches. Background on his "rise and fall.")

Zimbabwe's highest court has ruled in favor of the country's mainstream Anglican Church, ordering bishop Nolbert Kunonga to return Anglican worship sites he seized after being excommunicated in 2007.

According to the Associated Press, Kunonga founded his own diocese in the capital city Harare six years ago. However, he "held the Anglican Cathedral in Harare and several other churches, with the help of police."

But the supreme court found that Kunonga had no legal right to the properties, overturning a previous court ruling in his favor.

"When one leaves a club, one does not take its property with him or her," the ruling stated. "(When) one or more people secede from an existing church, they have no right to claim church property even if those who remain members of the congregation are in the minority."

Control of the properties will now be returned to the Church of the Province of Central Africa and Harare diocese bishop Chad Gandiya.

CT previously profiled Kunonga as Zimbabwe's "thug bishop" and reported president Robert Mugabe's clampdown on churches.

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Related Topics:Africa
Posted:November 20, 2012 at 12:15PM
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Court Ends Six-Year Seizure of Zimbabwe Churches