Church has no money for Kunonga retrial

Harare, Zimbabew - In a sensational twist to the ecclesiastical trial of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga which collapsed a few months back, an Archbishop in the church has told Newsreel there is no money for a retrial. The Church in Central Africa could not afford the fees required to pay both lawyers and prosecutors needed to move the case forward.

Bishop Kunonga was dragged to court facing over 38 charges ranging from inciting murder, intimidating and firing priests while at the same time endorsing a violent land reform programme. He was rewarded with two farms by government as a thank you gesture. His trial however collapsed when Malawian judge James Kalaile quit citing squabbles between the prosecution and the defence over procedure.

The Archbishop of Central Africa Bernard Malango was supposed to re-appoint another judge but made a u-turn in December declaring he would make a ruling on his own. On Wednesday a councillor of the Cathedral Committee in the Anglican Church, Walter Gwete said parishioners who lodged a complaint against Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of Harare are now considering alternative legal options. This after the state media reported that Malango had cleared Kunonga of all the charges.

An Archbishop who spoke to Newsreel and whose name has been withheld for personal reasons says the case was lost by default. He alleged that Kunonga’s lawyers had been deliberately quarrelsome over legal technicalities to create the situation now prevailing. He also dismissed the view that the Central African Bishop had power to exonerate Kunonga on his own. The lawyers for the complainants could file an appeal with the Archbishop of Canterbury citing the fact that the Provincial Archbishops had brought the church into disrepute over their handling of the matter.

The Archbishop also pointed out that winning court cases was a secondary worry to having a disruptive leader like Bishop Kunonga presiding over the church in Harare. Justice delayed was in essence justice denied.