Zimbabwe: Mugabe's Bishop Kunonga Excommunicated By Anglican Church

Harare, Zimbabwe - The die-hard ruling party supporter and former bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, was ex-communicated by the Anglican Church this week.

The Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), the Church's highest regional authority, reportedly said Kunonga had been excommunicated along with several priests and other church leaders who supported his actions against the Mother church.

The church's provincial dean, Albert Chama, explained that the church had imposed on Kunonga, "and all those who support him, the sentence of Greater Excommunication," meaning that they have been separated from 'the Church of the Province of Central Africa and the Anglican Communion'.

Kunonga is a supporter of the land reform programme and the oppressive policies of the Mugabe regime. He was dismissed from the Church after he tried to withdraw the Diocese of Harare from the regional synod, and form his own 'Church of Harare Province.' The CPCA replaced him with Bishop Bakare, but Kunonga has refused to accept this decision.

Kunonga's successor Bishop Sebastian Bakare explained that the ruling is so serious that in the old days people who were ex-communicated were burned to death, but the bishop quickly pointed out that this is not done anymore. He said excommunication means there is now no bond whatsoever between Kunonga and the church. "As far as the Anglican Church is concerned he is dead," he added.

Kunonga has refused to give up possession of the St. Mary's Cathedral in the Capital. Bishop Bakare said the Cathedral remains property of the Province of Central Africa, but Kunonga has moved in and has been sleeping and cooking on the property. Known as 'Mugabe's Bishop,' the controversial Kunonga has used the youth militia to keep parishioners loyal to Bakare from conducting services at several churches in Harare. He once forced his way into a service, throwing furniture around and screaming at parishioners.

Bakare said Kunonga has also refused to give up vehicles and other property that belong to the province, and there is a High court case pending that is set to decide all matters relating to church property. But as usual, the courts are delaying the case and no date has yet been set for the hearing. Bishop Bakare said that currently judicial system favours Kunonga, but this will come to an end.