The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Kunonga - Offside From Day One

opinion

There has never been a night so long or dark that it does not end with dawn. With the Anglican Church's drawn-out wrangle recently getting settled in the Supreme Court; daylight finally broke signalling the fervent hope that light will forever prevail.

As I see it, it has always been clear on whose corner the bell was destined to toll. It was apparent that ex-communicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga got prodigal with his reverence. He took his Lordship a step too far by unorthodoxly appropriating to himself church property.

Holding on to church property in the aftermath of being defrocked from the Anglican Communion was his undoing. If ever there was a temptation he fell face down on, it was the lure of church property. It was a certainty that as with Ananias and Sapphira, Kunonga was headed for ruin.

Given the benefit of hindsight, I expected him to rue the ill-conceived strategy of holding on to church property. It could have been appropriate for him to be displaying a contrite and repentant spirit more prominently than the crucifix. David did so after succumbing to the Bathsheba temptation. It stands Kunonga in excellent stead to do likewise.

David sank into anguish and despair when it dawned on him that he had committed a despicable sin.

Ex-communication is never by mutual accord. It is an act of last resort; a gruesome severance of relationship that is never characterised by smiles, handshakes and goodbyes. Like divorce, more often than not, it is bound to be acrimonious, leaving both parties bitter, bruised and broken.

Merits of Kunonga's dispute with Canterbury, be they the contentious frocking of gay bishops, canonical disobedience or doctrinal schism, fall outside the scope of my synopsis. An acre of editorial space has already been devoted to developments which left them with neither middle ground, nor meeting of the minds. It would be pedestrian for me to amble on a sufficiently trodden path.

Essentially, my discourse is to explore if it was judicious for Kunonga to hold on to church property. It is pertinent and prudent to underscore that upon arrogating himself to privileges of church property, the Anglican Church community was thrown into mayhem. Even the angelus began to sound like dirge.

Only the devil was animated as the community got torn asunder. Feuding like siblings over inheritance dispute, hell broke loose as the communicants turned militaristic, forsook sharing the chalice and degenerated into calling curses on each other. No amount of incense could dispel the rot.

If Kunonga does not lose sleep over the resultant debacle, it could be argued that he became apostasy. Casting baleful eyes on each other became order of the day, contrary to Christian doctrine.

Brother ceased to be brother's keeper.

As I see it, holding on to church property was not a righteous option; more so after founding his splinter church. There is evidence galore of splits from mother churches; to cite but one, recently clergy and folk broke from my church, the United Methodist Church. All they took were copies of Ngoma, the hymn book.

Kunonga's departure from precedence left his bushel devoid of kerosene. Darkness enveloped the church he was ordained to illuminate. Groping in darkness, chaos broke out and the church made headlines for wrong reasons. My sympathies are with those who regarded him with askance.

Kunonga must empty his heart to God as did Elijah under the broom tree. Courtesies he learnt at the cradle, coupled with those from seminary, are effectual enough to awaken in him the politesse to apologise for the impasse which negatively impacted on the Anglican Church community. He who has ears let them hear.

Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is Chief Executive Officer of Muketiwa Motivational Speaking Bureau (Pvt) Ltd.

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