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Anglican evictions turn nasty

Some of her family’s property is lying in the yard since they moved into the house last week. “This house belongs to some late relatives of one of our parishioners,” Muro-mbedzi explains.

“She offered us accommodation here after we were thrown out of Daramombe Mission.“On the first day, we slept by the roadside, where the deputy sherrif dumped us.”

Veronica is the wife of Father Muyengwa Murombedzi, the Anglican priest who was recently evicted from Daramombe Mission in Chivhu by Nolbert Kunonga.

Kunonga is the ex-communicated bishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA)’s Harare Diocese, who now runs a rival church, the Anglican Church Province of Zimbabwe.

Daramombe Secondary School headmaster, Denford Javangwe, Daramombe Primary School head and senior nursing staff were also evicted as Kunonga upped his stakes in the property wrangle between himself and the CPCA.

“We believe that everything happens for a reason,” Veronica said last week. “Our parishioners still want us to work with them, so even if we were to stay in the open for us to be there for them, we were going to do that.

“We believe God will provide a solution to this problem at his own time.” Crammed in another room is the property of one nursing staffer who was also evicted together with the Murombedzi family.

The high school headmaster is understood to be staying with his sister who has a homestead in the area while his primary school counterpart is said to be now staying with his wife, who is a teacher at a neighbouring school.

A bursar who was also a victim of the evictions is said to have packed all her belongings and left for her home in neighbouring Manyene. Veronica said her family, which all along had been leading a comfortable life at the mission premises as part of the package for the priest, was adapting well to the changed circumstances, taking note that as God’s servants, they had to endure anything for them to advance God’s work.

Since their eviction, the priest and all those he fellowshipped with at the mission now conduct services at the open space where his family was dumped by the deputy sherrif.

“We have to make do with what we have at our disposal,” he said. “Although we were used to tap water at the mission, we now join the rest of the community to fetch water at the stream, but we are not sure about its safety.

“We are happy that most parishioners are now turning up for the services because during the first days, only a few came after people were told them that they will be beaten up by soldiers and the police if they continued interacting with us.”

Murombedzi has teamed up with other priests from Masvingo to hold meetings with parishioners from all parts of the province to explain to them the goings-on in their troubled church.

CPCA Harare Diocesan secretary, Michael Chingore said his church was disappointed that the evictions, which started a fortnight ago, continued last week despite a court application to stay them.

CPCA reports last week said those evicted included Gandiya’s priests in Southerton, St Matthews Makonde in Chinhoyi, St Aiden’s in Seke and St John’s in Chikwaka while another from Warren Park fled after receiving threats.

Some caregivers at Shearly Cripps Children’s Home in Murehwa were also evicted.

KUNONGA’S VICTIM AWAIT HIGH COURT RULING

The High Court will on Thursday decide on the CPCA’s application to stop the evictions from the church’s properties. Kunonga, who has close links with Zanu PF, was ex-communicated in 2007.

He wants to seize control of the 3 000 Anglican churches, schools, hospitals and other properties in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. Police have been accused of siding with Kunonga in the fight for properties as they reportedly rush to arrest his rivals while leaving his people to cause terror.

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