Zimbabwe priest robbed of communication equipment

This is an update in the continuing conflict in the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, which has been under attack by excommunicated bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga. The Anglican Church of Canada has a historic relationship with Zimbabwe and has in the past provided grants to theological colleges and student interns in Zimbabwe, as well as supporting visits of Canadian volunteers.

The Bishop of Harare the Rt Revd Dr Nicholas Chad Gandiya said he is suspicious of a robbery at his house in which only money and communications equipment were taken.

On the same day that international media carried the news of the arrest and imprisonment of Anglican priest Reverend Julius Zimbudzana and of the impending visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Zimbabwe, four men forced their way into the bishop’s home on Thursday evening. They ordered him and his family to lie on the floor and then proceeded to ransack the house.

Bp Chad said, “We gave them all the money we had between us all which came to $600 to $800. They threatened to kill us if we did not give them money. They searched my son’s bedroom and ours for money and any valuables they could get. They literally trashed our bedroom. They took my laptop and my son’s two laptops and all our cell phones.

“They shoved us all into the bathroom and tried to lock us in but it did not work. They threatened to load all our property in cars and take it all away. We rejoice and thank God that none of us were hurt. We simply did what they told us to do.

“I am however, very suspicious of this robbery. It seems what they were after were just the laptops and phones.”

He added that the robbery means that his ability to communicate is now, of course, much more limited than before.

The robbery took place only hours after the priest in charge at St Mary’s Anglican Church, Reverend Julius Zimbudzana, was finally released from jail after being arrested on a charge of taking over Anglican church property worth over US$1.5 million.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Harare said yesterday , “We thank God that Reverend Julius Zimbudzana was this afternoon released from police custody without any charges laid against him. The Attorney General’s office said the police should investigate their case before making arrests.”

He added, “Although we are afflicted in every way, we are not crushed and we do not lose hope.”

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been under attack from the excommunicated bishop, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, since 2007. Kunonga, with the support of police and henchmen, has seized CPCA church property and used violence to break up church services. In an interview with the New York Times, Dr Kunonga was quoted as saying that his aim is for his church to control about 3,000 Anglican churches, schools, hospitals and other properties in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Malawi.

Since a recent ruling that Dr Kunonga had custodianship of properties belonging to the Church of the Province of Central Africa he has starting forcing Anglican priests and others to leave homes and other buildings. Today the Zimbabwe government-supported newspaper The Herald revealed that the latest victims of Dr Kunonga’s eviction campaign were the Revd Muyengwa Murombedzi the headmaster of Daramombe Mission near Chivu, Mr Denford Javangwe the headteacher of Daramombe primary school, and senior nursing staff at the Mission.

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