5 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Kunonga, Gandiya Trade Accusations

THE case in which the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe and its leader Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga are challenging eviction from Anglican properties opened yesterday with both parties trading accusations of disrespecting the courts.

Archbishop Kunonga's lawyer, Mr Jonathan Samukange, raised a preliminary point seeking to deny the Bishop Chad Gandiya's Church of the Province of Central Africa right of audience in the High Court citing dirty hands.

The arguments were heard in the chambers of Judge President George Chiweshe who deferred the case to today for continuation of arguments on preliminary points raised by both parties.

Mr Samukange, of behalf of ACPZ, argued that CPCA disregarded the notice of set down for the urgent chamber application and evicted his clie- nts.

To that end, Mr Samukange argues that CPCA was approaching the court with dirty hands and that they needed to cleanse themselves before approaching the court.

Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who acted for CPCA, also raised a number of preliminary issues including an accusation that Archbishop Kunonga's church was in contempt of court by resisting eviction despite a notice of eviction.

CPCA argues that Archbishop Kunonga's ACPZ should not be entertained in the courts of law until it purges its contempt.

CPCA argues that ACPZ defied several notices of eviction that were issued in pursuance of a Supreme Court judgment.

The church argues that the application lacks urgency and that the urgency alleged by ACPZ was "self-created".

It is CPCA's contention that the High Court should refuse to hear the matter on that basis.

The High Court, according to CPCA's lawyers, does not have jurisdiction to hear the matter considering that the Supreme Court had already ruled on the issue of property ownership.

Staying execution, the lawyers argue, was tantamount to frustrating an order of the Supreme Court.

ACPZ has failed to establish a clear right that is under threat, which is a basic test to obtain a provisional order, CPCA argues.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that Bishop Gandiya's CPCA was the legitimate owner of the church properties in the Anglican's Diocese of Harare and that Archbishop Kunonga and his colleagues who seceded from the church to form their own had no right to the property.

Notices of eviction were served on Archbishop Kunonga and his church members but they remained on the properties until the Deputy Sheriff had to evict them.

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