EXPELLED Anglican Church bishop Nolbert Kunonga has appealed to the Supreme Court against rulings by the High Court that he should share church premises with acting Harare vicar-general Sebastian Bakare. High Court judges Rita Makarau and Charles Hungwe ruled separately in January and last month that Kunonga should not interfere with church services of Bakare and that his Anglican Province of Harare did not exist at law.
In his appeal, Kunonga said Makarau erred when she ruled that parishioners from both camps had the right to use church premises.
“The Honourable Judge President (Makarau) erred when she found that the rights of parishioners to use and access church premises should be so regulated by set time frames, which set time frames created a new status quo that did not prevail in the church prior to January 2008,” wrote Kunonga’s spokesperson Reverend Barnabas Machingauta in his founding affidavit.
Kunonga’s lawyers are arguing that Makarau misdirected herself when she gave an order, which resulted in their client losing administrative control of the church and having to share “episcopal authority” with Bakare.
“The Honourable Judge President misdirected herself when she gave the said order which had the effect of granting a final order or an order which had an effect, in that it changed the status of the appellants, who have lost adnimstrative control of the church, and are forced to share episcopal authority and leadership which, in any sect otherwise indivisible and cannot be shared,” read the court application.
“The order has a definitive effect in that it forces the incumbent Bishop of Harare to share his cathedral, which is the parish that houses his throne and administrative function, a situation which has seen the breach of peace at the instance of the Church of the Province of Central Africa and Bakare and has heightened religious tension.”
Kunonga said the order had the definitive effect of causing ambiguity in that it further muddied the waters and caused parishioners and Bakare to manipulate the right of worship from episcopal authority and perform administrative functions within the church.
Kunonga is also asking the Supreme Court to hear the appeal simultaneously with another one against Hungwe’s judgement on the grounds that the matters are premised on the same facts.
However, earlier this week the Church of the Province of Central Africa lodged with the Supreme Court a notice of opposition to Kunonga’s appeal.
The church in its notice maintained that Kunonga does not have the locus standi to bring a court application in the name of the Diocese of Harare.
“I submit that it is apparent that Kunonga is now a law unto himself and his attempt to get Madam Justice Makarau’s judgment set aside is an attempt to avoid the consequences of contempt of court proceedings which he has been warned are coming,” wrote Reverend Christopher Tapera in his notice of opposition.