HARARE – Disgraced clergyman Nolbert Kunonga and his surrogates have up to 4pm today to vacate all Anglican Church properties, the Daily News can report.
Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) has engaged the police and the Messenger of Court to push the defrocked bishop out today.
CPCA has obtained a “Warrant of Ejection” from the High Court. If the recalcitrant Kunonga does not get out of church properties by 4pm today, he will be in “contempt of court” and liable to arrest.
Initially the CPCA, which last week won a Supreme Court victory to regain control of all Anglican Church’s properties, wanted “a peaceful handover-takeover” exercise. But Kunonga, who has refused an olive branch from the Bishop Chad Gandiya-led church, spurned the invite, refusing to join the church as a layman.
Boasting of more than 100 parishes and sub parishes in the diocese of Harare which encompasses Mashonaland East, West and Central provinces and hundreds of schools and hospitals some of which are major cash cows, his surrogates have defiantly refused to let go of the Anglican properties.
Although Kunonga and company are not prepared to join the CPCA, they will be forced to surrender the church’s vast properties today as police and the Messenger of Court move in to enforce the Supreme Court verdict that directed them to leave.
Kunonga was insolent when the Daily News reached him yesterday, dismissing the 4pm ultimatum. He was still at the Cathedral.
“They are not important,” charged Kunonga, referring to the eviction notice.
“What do they have? Can they shoot us with guns? No, they can’t,” he said curtly, before hanging up the line.
Efforts to reach him later to find out if he was complying with the eviction order or not, were futile.
However, the roping in of the police is an extraordinary turn of events as for five years; Kunonga relied on the force to deny bonafide Anglicans access into their church properties.
Clifford Dzavo, the CPCA secretary, said the Anglican Church intended to carry out an inventory to determine bills that Kunonga’s faction ran up, what was owed to local authorities and the power utility.
CPCA says it has now been forced to change tact; and moved to enlist the services of police and Messenger of Court to kick Kunonga out.
“We wanted to involve Kunonga peacefully in order to enable us to carry out an inventory but now we are going to use the legal way,” Dzavo told the Daily News yesterday.
“We have engaged the Messenger of Court and an eviction notice was given to Kunonga on Friday. Kunonga has been given 48 hours to leave and we start counting today (Monday) since Saturday and Sunday were weekends.”
But with Kunonga’s departure inevitable, the Anglican church will have to retire astronomical utility bills of close to half a million dollars, as the ex-communicated bishop was not paying bills and was in serious default to various service providers.
“We know our assets and before we left, we did an inventory and we are going to do another one to establish whether our properties are still in place,” Dzavo said.
“If we do not find our cars and other things, then we will have to engage the police in order to get what belongs to us.”
CPCA, which has returned to its churches albeit slowly due to resistance from residual elements in Kunonga’s faction, is moving to repossess the Cathedral which is the main seat of the diocese of Harare and the symbol of the struggle for control of the Anglican Church.