HARARE – Anglican Bishop Chad Gandiya’s camp has made sensational allegations of food poisoning against disgraced and dethroned renegade clergyman Nolbert Kunonga’s group, which has been ordered by the court to vacate rectories, schools and hospitals they grabbed five years ago.
Gandiya’s Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) was on high alert yesterday and issued warnings to members that it had unearthed a case where Kunonga’s people, including his relatives had poisoned an orchard to fix CPCA members expected to move in following the Supreme Court ruling.
Kunonga refused to respond to the allegation when contacted by the Daily News yesterday.
But Precious Shumba, the CPCA spokesperson for the Harare Diocese, urged CPCA followers and officials moving into properties to be cautious following the poisoning case.
“It happened,” said Shumba confirming the poisoning allegations.
“It was reported to the police as a case of food poisoning,” he said.
As part of the awareness campaign, the CPCA took to social media yesterday to warn Anglicans of the food poisoning.
The church, on its Facebook page, fingered Rutendo Kunonga, son of the controversial ex-communicated Anglican bishop, to have allegedly poisoned mango fruits at St Paul Church in Chinhoyi where he was in charge.
“Do not trust Kunonga’s people! Be warned! Here is why — information just received is that Kunonga’s son Rutendo, who was residing at St Paul’s Chinhoyi Rectory, sprayed a poisonous substance on a mango tree, obviously expecting to poison our priest and family,” read a statement from the CPCA on Facebook.
The poisoning backfired as Rutendo’s son “picked up one of the poisoned mangoes, and was immediately taken seriously ill at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital.
“The matter was reported to police,” reads the CPCA statement.
The CPCA, which was keen on moving in to their premises immediately, is now cautions and has warned its members to be wary of Kunonga’s “mischief”.
Shumba said although the Anglican Church is cautious because of the alleged poisoning of mangoes by Kunonga’s son, it will not hesitate to forcibly eject Kunonga from the premises in order to avoid further rot.
Fears abound that Kunonga’s supporters — whose brute streak manifested itself in the past five years as they beat up fellow Christians and allegedly looted churches, schools and hospitals — could employ similar tricks countrywide.
“Now you are all warned not to eat any fruit you will find at our church premises and rectories because they might be poisoned,” reads the statement.
Gandiya has already warned Anglicans against using altars in the churches until a cleansing ceremony is carried out on December 16.
He said under Kunonga, churches were turned into brothels, crèches and business premises without shame.
He said attempts to stop the rot were met with violent resistance by Kunonga’s followers, who often enjoyed backing from the police.
With Kunonga having refused an invitation to “humbly” join the church albeit as a lay man, Shumba said Anglicans should quickly move in to the properties because of the dirty tactics that are now being employed by the deposed camp.
“It is now time to evict the Kunonga people without further delay otherwise they will destroy us,” said Shumba.
Kunonga refused to speak to the Daily News.
“Forget about all those things. Why do you pursue useless business,” a brooding Kunonga said before cutting off. He did not pick up further calls from the Daily News.
Kunonga was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Harare in 1997 but parted company with the CPCA in 2007 after he pulled out citing differences on homosexuality.
He subsequently forcibly took over properties despite having left the church voluntarily, igniting a five-year legal war.
Ian Kohwera, Mashonaland West police spokesperson said he was not in the office and could only respond today.