HARARE – High Court judge Maxwell Takuva has dismissed with costs an application by ex-communicated Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga in which he was seeking an order to the stop to eviction of his priests from church properties across the country.
In the application, Kunonga, the leader of the renegade outfit, the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe (ACPZ), claimed the evictions would affect 150 priests.
The defrocked bishop argued that he should keep the church properties under indigenisation laws which state that all foreign companies cede 51 percent stake to locals.
However, lawyers representing Bishop Chad Gandiya’s bonafide Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) said a church cannot be indigenised since it is not owned by individuals.
CPCA lawyer Thabani Mpofu yesterday told the court that Kunonga had opted to withdraw the case, but his clients were opposed to the application.
Mpofu said the withdrawal was defective in nature, as it failed to address the issue of costs.
“We do not accept it in its form,” Mpofu said.
Takuva dismissed the application and ordered costs on a higher scale.
Responding to the controversial clergyman’s shocking claims that he should retain Anglican Church properties on the basis of indigenisation regulations, CPCA lawyers described summons “filed on behalf of the plaintiff (Kunonga) as being bad in both fact and in law.”
“For whatever reason, (Dr) Kunonga and his colleagues elected to secede from the Anglican Church. They must live with the consequences of their action of seceding.
“The natural consequence is that they lost any right of occupation of the respondent’s assets,” reads the CPCA affidavit.
Kunonga’s application followed eviction orders served on his priests by Gandiya’s lawyers in November last year.
According to the interim relief Kunonga was seeking, he wanted his priests and followers operating from Cathedral offices along Nelson Mandela Avenue, Paget House along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, offices at 101 Central Avenue and any other premises in dispute to be spared from evictions pending determination of the matter.
Kunonga said the balance of convenience favours his church in that it has been in peaceful and undisturbed possession of the church property and buildings since 2007.
He claimed his ACPZ was formed following differences with CPCA on issues of homosexuality, sovereignty and sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“There is no reason at law or in principle why the property for the applicant church (ACPZ) should be held to belong to CPCA,” he said.