29 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Kunonga Evicted, Six Bouncers Arrested

SIX people aligned to Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga's Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe were arrested yesterday afternoon after violence broke out at the Anglican Cathedral of St Mary and All Saints in central Harare.

Riot police were called in to restore order and arrested Ronald Mukuya, Tafadzwa Dodzo, Simbarashe Nyangani, Simbarashe Dodzo, Musiye Tsuvari and Tendai Mukaviri, all of Harare.

They were however, all released last night after paying admission of guilt fines for assaulting security guards at the cathedral.

The guards had been hired by the Church of the Province of Central Africa's Bishop Chad Gandiya to secure the church following the eviction of Archbishop Kunonga yesterday morning. But Archbishop Kunonga returned to the church in the afternoon and forcibly entered the premises in the company of some men.

The men assaulted the guards and removed them from their guard points.

CPCA officials reported the violence, resulting in the arrest of the six.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri said: "I can confirm that we received a report that four security guards allegedly aligned to the Bishop Chad Gandiya church were assaulted at the Anglican Cathedral.

"Six suspects from the Kunonga side were picked up and paid fines for assault."

There was drama at the main entrance to the cathedral as Archbishop Kunonga sat in a relaxed manner in the yard, telling those who accompanied him that he was the legitimate owner of the premises.

Archbishop Kunonga went back to the Cathedral two hours after the Deputy Sheriff had evicted him and all other occupants before locking gates and doors.

Scores of people gathered outside the cathedral to catch a glimpse of the drama.

Property belonging to caretakers, church employees and tenants was thrown onto the streets.

After the arrest of the six, Bishop Gandiya's priests stormed the premises at around 5:30pm in their black robs.

One of the priests used an iron bar to break the padlock and chains that had been put to secure the gate by the arrested suspects.

While inside, the priests ordered remaining members of Archbishop Kunonga's camp to leave.

After five minutes, the Kunonga loyalists drove away.

Two others who remained inside while their colleagues drove away or force-marched out of the building.

Archbishop Kunonga's lawyer Mr Jonathan Samukange of Venturas and Samukange yesterday wrote a letter of complaint to Judge President George Chiweshe against the deputy sheriff for evicting Archbishop Kunonga.

Mr Samukange argued that the deputy sheriff disrespected the High Court after it set down an urgent chamber application by the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe against eviction for next Tuesday.

The urgent chamber application seeks to interdict the deputy sheriff from evicting the church from the cathedral offices, Paget House along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and at Number 101 Central Avenue.

Mr Samukange's letter was copied to the Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs Mr David Mangota, the deputy sheriff's office, Mr Raymond Moyo of Gill Godlonton and Gerrans and to Archbishop Kunonga.

He said the deputy sheriff and his assistant refused to consider the fact that there was already a notice of set down for the urgent chamber application.

"Mr Matipano (the deputy sheriff) informed him (Mr Samukange) that he would not stop the eviction despite the fact that he had seen the notice of set down where the matter of eviction was to be argued," read part of the letter.

"This conduct was tantamount to defeating the urgent chamber application. He said he would proceed with the eviction.

"It has always been a custom and tradition that when an urgent matter has been set down, it suspends execution until the matter is heard.

"This creates a dangerous precedent whereby the deputy sheriff takes the law into his own hands. When a case is set down, it automatically suspends any further action until the matter is determined."

Mr Samukange gave notice of their intention to make an application for directions on how the deputy sheriff and his assistant may be compelled to restore the status quo that existed before yesterday's eviction.

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