Reverend Samuel Sifelani of the Marlborough parish said parishioners from his church would soon start building new structures because the Kunonga faction was preventing them from using the building they had shared before their acrimonious split.
“We have already bought a piece of land for building a new church,” said Sifelani.
Parishioners in Kuwadzana high-density suburb said they bought a stand in the area while parishioners in Kuwadzana Extension were leasing another piece of land where they conduct their prayers.
When The Standard news crew visited Kuwadzana Extension last week, the church’s Mothers’ Union was having its weekly meeting under a shade which has been put up on the piece of land they bought.
“We are happy to be able to convene and pray in peace, without being attacked and arrested,” one parishioner said. “But we are not completely at peace because our properties were taken away from us.”
The parishioner said: “We hope the courts will soon rule in our favour because our children are getting married and we are bringing them here in the open yet we have decent buildings they can use. Again, we are worried that should we die before regaining our properties, the church services will be conducted at our houses yet we built churches for that purpose.”
A feud between Chad Gandiya and Kunonga factions has been raging since the latter’s excommunication from the CPCA in 2007 after he unilaterally pulled the Harare Diocese out of the province accusing his rivals of supporting homosexuality.
The feud, largely centred on ownership of properties and characterised by violent clashes especially targeted at CPCA members, has resulted in numerous court cases and political interventions to no avail.
‘Wrangle a blessing in disguise’
CPCA press officer, Precious Shumba, said the wrangle had been a blessing in disguise in as far as the expansion of the church was concerned.
“The persecution we have faced has created an opportunity for expansion,” Shumba said. “Our bishop (Chad Gandiya) has said we need not despair but secure land to build new churches so that when we finally regain our properties which were expropriated, our territory would have grown from where it was before the persecution.”
He said the church also got three hectares of land in Ruwa where the Mothers’ Union intended to build a training centre and a conference centre.
The church’s Glenview parish has also purchased a piece of land while the Warren Park parish recently held a fundraising dinner for securing a piece of land to build a church.
Shumba said more land had been secured in Norton and other parishes across the diocese.
Kunonga, a self-confessed Zanu PF supporter, last week said he does not care if CPCA builds new churches as long as they do not use his name.
“Assist them by telling them that they should not build in the name of the Harare diocese and Anglican because they would have built for me as the law gave me custody of the church and all its properties,” he said.
“They do not know what they are doing but they have to be wary or else when I arrive at the properties they will start saying the law is unfair yet it is them who would have shown lack of intelligence.
He added: “Impress upon them that they should change the name so they do not get disadvantaged. They can come up with a new name and re-register or else their efforts will amount to nothing but a waste of time because the law is clear that they have no church.”