|Kunonga loses Anglican church property wrangle|
|Monday, 19 November 2012 18:24|
The Supreme Court has ordered Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga and his followers to cease control of the Anglican Church’s properties and allow the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) led by Bishop Chad Gandiya to take charge.
The development brings to finality a five-year legal battle which had caused a split in the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.
Archbishop Kunonga was ordered to pay the costs of the civil appeal, and to immediately relinquish control of the church property.
In his 40-page ruling, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba noted that the initial High Court judgement giving Archbishop Kunonga and his followers control over the church’s property was wrong.
“The learned Judge was wrong in giving Dr Kunonga and his followers the right to possess and control the property of the Church without its consent. They had no right to continue in possession of the congregational buildings when they had departed from the fundamental principles and standards on which the Church is founded,” read the judgement.
Deputy Chief Justice Malaba articulated how Archbishop Kunonga’s pastoral licence was subsequently revoked on the 20th of December 2007 by the Episcopal Synod of the church in terms of Canon 6 subsection 6 and how he had responded by being consecrated and enthroned as a bishop of the new church, before proceeding to enthrone five bishops in five dioceses.
He said Archbishop Kunonga resigned from the church owing to doctrinal differences and he was no longer legally entitled to exercise control over its properties.
“When Dr Kunonga communicated to the Archbishop on 21 September 2007, that they had withdrawn the Diocese of Harare from the Appellant Church he did not say they were still members of the Church. It is unreasonable to think that they could have withdrawn the Diocese of Harare from the Church whilst remaining members,” said Deputy Chief Justice Malaba.
After the court ruling, Bishop Chad Gandiya said he felt vindicated by the judgement, adding that he will soon advise the nation when he will take over the property.
Archbishop Julius Makoni from the Manicaland Diocese who was in attendance said he will be moving into the Manicaland church premises with immediate effect, whilst several members of the Church of the Province of Central Africa burst into song and dance outside the Supreme Court.