10 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Anglican Bishop Jakazi Seeks to Revive Fortunes

Anglican Bishop Elson Jakazi is seeking to revive his battle to control the church's Diocese of Manicaland barely two months after the Supreme Court struck off his notice of appeal from the roll.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba dismissed Bishop Jakazi and his trustees' appeal in October in which they were challenging a High Court decision thwarting their efforts to reclaim leadership of the church.

Bishop Jakazi in September 2007 tendered resignation from the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa, which was accepted.

Three months later, the bishop tried to recant his decision, but the church rejected the move insisting that Bishop Jakazi was no longer the leader and a member of the church.

The church then appointed Bishop Peter Hatendi to lead the diocese, a decision that did not go down well with Bishop Jakazi and prompted him to file an urgent chamber application to bar the consecration.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu dismissed the application and declared that Bishop Jakazi had voluntarily resigned and withdrawn from the church and that he had no right to stop the consecration of a new bishop.

Bishop Jakazi then appealed to the Supreme Court where his notice of appeal was found to be fatally defective before being struck off the roll.

It was dismissed together with four other appeals by Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga of the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe.

On Monday, the Supreme Court would hear a chamber application for condonation of late filing of a fresh notice of appeal by Bishop Jakazi and his followers.

In the chamber application for condonation, Bishop Jakazi's lawyers Chikumbirike and Associates argued that there was reasonable explanation for the delay in filing the notice of appeal.

It is also the lawyers' contention that there are excellent prospects of success on the merits of the case.

Justice Bhunu's judgment spelt out that Bishop Jakazi had ceased to be a member or bishop of the church.

"Having ceased to be an employee or member of the church, he (Jakazi) automatically stripped himself of any rights arising from the contract of employment, membership or his status as bishop of the church," he said.

"The first applicant (Jakazi) was not dismissed. His was a voluntary act to resign from the church.

"That being the case, he can hardly be heard to complain or cry foul."

Any appeal or review by Bishop Jakazi, the High Court found, means the bishop will be appealing or seeking to review his own conduct.

Anglicans in Manicaland were caught up in a state of confusion following a Supreme Court ruling declaring the Church of the Province of Central Africa represented by Bishop Chad Gandiya as the legitimate owners of the church properties in the Diocese of Harare. Bishop Jakazi's appeal was also struck off but he filed a chamber application for permission to file an appeal out of time.

Copyright © 2012 The Herald. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.