allAfrica.com: Zimbabwe: Police Beat Up And Evict Anglican Parishioners Page 1 of 1
State sponsored violence against members of the Anglican Church reached new levels over the weekend as police in different parts of Harare gatecrashed church services and beat up parishioners loyal to new bishop Sebastian Bakare.
At the St Francis parish in Waterfalls riot police interrupted the service during holy communion and told parishioners to leave. Witnesses said the parishioners assumed it was the usual police over-zealousness and some of them remained seated. The police then began beating up people, including women, in the church.
Bishop Bakare, who replaced former bishop-deposed Nolbert Kunonga, goes on to note that Kunonga has accused Bakare of being an MDC supporter, has accepted financial support from Britain (ie., the Devil), and so on.
I’ve quoted the entire article as AllAfrica.com tends to scroll stories off into the archives (or remove them) pretty quickly.Â The Zim stories seem to be escalating – more news is getting out, at least, so it’s hard to tell if the atrocities are getting worse, or it’s just that they’re getting reported.
On Monday, Newsreel spoke to Bishop Bakare who confirmed that similar scenes were witnessed in Borrowdale, Budiriro, Dzivarasekwa and other parishes. The Christ Church parish in Borrowdale was raided by police who arrested the warden there, a Mr Murombedzi. He was taken to Borrowdale police station but after several hours of stalling over a charge they eventually released him. A furious Bakare said what was happening was a national scandal adding, even Ian Smith former Rhodesian leader allowed us to worship.
Sources told Newsreel that the ousted Bishop and Mugabe supporter, Nolbert Kunonga, has branded new bishop Bakare an MDC supporter who is receiving money from Britain. The accusation has provided an excuse for a crackdown on Bakares followers, with instructions being given to the police force that all parishioners loyal to him be barred from using any of the church buildings in Harare. A High Court order that divided time for church services between Bakare and Kunonga was suspended, following the granting of an appeal to Kunonga by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.
On becoming Bishop, Kunonga plunged the Anglican Church into disarray after pledging his support for Mugabes violent land-grab policy. He targeted priests who disagreed with him by posting them to remote areas, while members of the CIO threatened some with death. An attempt by Kunonga to withdraw the Harare diocese from the Province of Central Africa backfired as the province later dismissed him. Kunonga continues to defy the dismissal and has relied on state security to beat up and intimidate his opponents.
Out of some 69 vicars in the church 59 support Bakare, while 10 have remained loyal to Kunonga. Coincidentally and not surprising those 10 were ordained by Kunonga. Frustrated that the majority of parishioners also deserted him Kunonga has used state security operatives to keep the doors of St Marys cathedral shut. Every Sunday Kunonga and a small group of supporters open up the cathedral for their service, then lock it up again.