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Full text of dossier given to Mugabe by Williams

For the attention of H. E. President R. G. Mugabe

Your Excellency

We, the Archbishop and Bishops of the Anglican Province of Central Africa (CPCA), hereby submit a dossier of abuses committed against our Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe over the last four years.

Dr Rowan Williams meets Dictator Robert Mugabe at Zimbabwe State House
Dr Rowan Williams meets Dictator Robert Mugabe at Zimbabwe State House

Since 2007 Anglican congregations have suffered systematic harassment and persecution at the hands of the police, often in direct contravention of court rulings. Details of this litany of abuses, which include false imprisonment, violence, denial of access to churches, schools, clinics and mission stations, are outlined below.

In the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland properties belonging to the Province have been misappropriated. It is a matter of the greatest sadness that we are being prevented from continuing our work to support local and often very needy communities with healthcare and education. Our priests and people are being denied access to our own clinics and schools.

Many of these institutions have been taken from us and under current poor or corrupt management are being rapidly run in to the ground and stripped of their assets. Details of this unwarranted activity and the impact on local communities are also included in this report.

Every week tens of thousands of Anglicans are denied their basic right to worship because of the lies and falsifications being propagated by the now excommunicated former bishop, Dr Kunonga, and his associates. Nolbert Kunonga and Elson Jakazi chose of their own volition to leave the CPCA in 2007.

They are no longer recognised as bishops or leaders by their former flocks, by the CPCA, by the Anglican Communion worldwide or by national and international ecumenical bodies. We express our thanks to our brothers and sisters from other churches that have supported us as we seek to communicate these facts.

Dr Rowan Willias at the City Sports Centre on Sunday
Dr Rowan Willias at the City Sports Centre on Sunday

Despite all of the abuses and intimidation we continue to humbly serve our communities in every way we can. We seek peace and reconciliation for all in our country and desire to play a role in promoting healing and prosperity for this great nation Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, let us state for the record that the Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe have never aligned themselves with any political party. There is no evidence to suggest we are anything other than loyal citizens of Zimbabwe. We also totally reject the misrepresentation of our church as not holding to the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage. This is wholly untrue.

We are dismayed that our continued calls for justice go unheard. Meanwhile threats made to our personal freedoms and security have continued to multiply over the last few months.

We respectfully ask that you, as Head of State and of the Executive in Zimbabwe, put an end to this illegal harassment by some members of the police, whose mandate is to protect civilians, and allow us once again to use the properties which are rightfully ours so that we may worship God in peace and serve our communities and our country.

Yours sincerely

Archbishop Albert Chama (Primate of the Province of Central Africa)

Bishop Chad Gandiya (Harare)

Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi (Masvingo)

Bishop Julius Makoni (Manicaland)

Bishop Cleophas Lunga (Matabeleland)

Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda (Central Zimbabwe)

Bishop Trevor Mwamba (Botswana)



1. Introduction

2. Violence and intimidation

3. Church gatherings and Sunday worship

4. Education

5. Health

6. Relief and development programmes

7. Administration

8. Clergy training and housing

9. Concluding remarks

1. Introduction

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been under attack from the excommunicated bishop, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, since 2007. Dr Kunonga and Elson Jakazi with the support of some police have seized property belonging to the Church of the Province of Central Africa, to which the Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe belong.

Nolbert Kunonga and the hired crowd of Zanu PF supporters at the Cathedral
Nolbert Kunonga and the hired crowd of Zanu PF supporters at the Cathedral

They have used violence and intimidation to break up church services, and deny people their basic right to worship. In addition the dioceses have lost huge sums of money through legal bills, rentals for offices and other diocesan activities as well as for church services. The quality of service delivery by diocesan institutions like schools and hospitals has been seriously affected through illegal seizure of assets.

2. Violence and intimidation

Violence and intimidation has been a hallmark of this struggle. Intimidation is a daily occurrence. Parishioners are not only denied access to their churches, but increasingly are threatened with punishment if they worship at all or attempt to carry out their ministry to the community.

Priests and deacons are arrested without charge on a weekly basis, often on a Friday, allowing the police to hold them over the weekend without charge, so that they cannot minister to their congregations. Many of these are elderly priests. Even when priests are not arrested they are threatened with violence by armed men.

Many members of our congregations have been assaulted and have needed hospital treatment. There are numerous incidents of whole congregations being tear-gassed and beaten. The Zimbabwean bishops have received personal death threats by phone, in person and at gun point.

On 18th February 2011 Mrs Jessica Mandeya of Harare Diocese was murdered. Her body was not discovered for two days until Sunday morning when friends came to join her to walk to church. We have information which very strongly suggests that she was murdered because she belongs to the Diocese of Harare CPCA. She had received threats to that effect in preceding weeks and days as she consistently refused to join Dr Kunonga’s Church.

3. Church gatherings and Sunday worship

In Harare the police have disrupted church services and have been using tear gas and baton sticks to drive people out of church buildings. As a consequence most churches lie empty each Sunday, except where a handful of Dr Kunonga’s priests and their families are able to occupy them.

Several thousand people are thus denied access to their churches each Sunday. For two years now people have been denied access to the Bernard Mizeki Shrine for their annual pilgrimage. This pilgrimage has significance not just for Zimbabweans but for those in surrounding countries.

In 2010, just as people from all over the country and beyond started converging at the Bernard Mizeki Shrine just outside Marondera. Police turned up in full force and drove the pilgrims away. The police took this action despite assurances the bishops by government that they would not be disturbed or harassed by anyone.

One of the Ministers of Home Affairs recently appeared on television assuring people that they would not be disturbed and that they would be protected at the shrine, but this is far from the reality on the ground in Marondera. This year, 2011, Anglicans were told that they would be denied all access to the shrine at all.

The Diocese of Masvingo was denied its annual pilgrimage to the Arthur Shearly Cripps Shrine in August 2011. The District Police Officer commanding also wrote to the diocese asserting they had no right to go to the shrine and the police forcibly took church properties in Chivhu.

The Priest-in-Charge for Chivhu was also detained without charge. The diocese was also prevented from holding its annual St. Benedict Guild Conference, planned from the beginning of the year to be held at Daramombe Mission from 11th-14th August 2011. They used Daramombe Beit Hall as a conference room but were denied access to the church which had been locked by Dr Kunonga.

On 12th August 2011, Dr Kunonga’s priest Mr T. Mugomo went to Chivhu District Police Office where he submitted false claims of ownership of the Mission. Dr Kunonga has never been able to produce any supporting papers to substantiate the claims. Mr T. Mugomo also claimed the youth had attacked him.

A few hours later, two police officers were deployed from Chivhu to check the reported situation at the Mission. They moved about the Mission, only to find a totally different scenario of St Benedict Guild youth going about their business without interfering in any way with Dr Kunonga’s priest.

After their return to Chivhu, three other police officers from Chivhu arrived later in the afternoon and told the three Heads of Departments (namely, the High Head, the Primary School Head & the Priest-in-Charge) to accompany them to the Police Station in Chivhu.

On Sunday 31st July 2011, Dr Kunonga, in the company of two of his bishops Harry Mambo Rinashe and Elijah Masuku (and other individuals they came with from Harare) and seven police officers from Chivhu, arrived at Daramombe Mission before 6 am. Church services for students at the High School and for parishioners had to be cancelled.

Dr Kunonga and his company forced their way in to the Daramombe church via a window, conducted a service and thereafter held their meeting in the church until 1pm. After this they demanded the keys for the church & rectory from the Priest-in-Charge (Ven. Murombedzi) who refused to surrender the keys.

In Manicaland the Mothers’ Union 2011 National Conference was held at Mutare Teachers’ College where US$20,000 was charged for accommodation and other facilities. Far less could have been spent if the conference was held an Anglican Mission School, and the money would then have been spent on community development programmes.

4. Education

The Diocese of Harare has ten primary and ten secondary schools and one nursery school (St Nicholas Nursery School for infants). These have all been taken over by Dr Kunonga who has removed suitably qualified headmasters and replaced them with those he has handpicked without any reference to the Ministry of Education, Sport, Art & Culture. The result of these actions is that academic standards have fallen to pitiful levels.

Arthur Shearly Cripps Children’s Home, which looked after about one hundred orphans, was taken over in August 2011. The Sisters who had been trained to run this institution were evicted and are having to pay rent at the local township where they are now accommodated.

The Diocese of Manicaland has twenty four primary schools and twelve secondary schools, six of which are boarding secondary schools. Of these primary and secondary schools, only five secondary and sixteen primary schools are currently still operating under the CPCA. Just like any other school in the country, these schools are very crucial agents of development.

It is pleasing to note that some Anglican Church boarding schools like St David’s Bonda High School, St Faith’s High School, St Augustine’s High School and St Anne’s Goto High School are among the best schools in Manicaland. They are all boarding schools that can accommodate between 800 and 1000 pupils.

However the work of all these schools has been seriously hindered by Mr Jakazi’s interference. He has mainly targeted the boarding schools, which have a great deal of infrastructure and where he can also demand large sums of levies to help finance his activities.

For example: At St Anne’s Goto High School Dr Kunonga and Mr Jakazi went and caused havoc at this Mission on the 11th May 2010 claiming to have control over the school. They broke the gates and forced everyone in the Mission in to the church to address them. They were accompanied by police who were assisting them in their operations.

They intimidated the whole Mission and gave a command that they should all be loyal to their priest that they were imposing, Rev Mudhumo, who is actually under investigation for embezzlement of funds in the Mission. Dr Kunonga threatened to close the school if people were not loyal to Rev Mudhumo.

On the following Sunday (16th May 2010) Hwedza police came to St Anne’s Goto and disrupted a church service being led by Rev Mavhezha who has always held services there. Eight elderly ladies were beaten up. Among the police who beat the elderly ladies were Constables Dube and Vhimai.

Pupils were threatened. It is alleged that Mr Jakazi and Dr Kunonga made an attempt to close the school through the Marondera Education Provincial Office because they were failing to force their way in to controlling the school. Many teachers have been and continue to be intimidated.

It has been made clear that the moment the CPCA priest is seen in the school he will be arrested by police who always say they are acting on instructions. The pupils have church services without a priest and they do not receive the pastoral services of a priest.

To aggravate the Mission’s plight, some pupils and teachers have been threatened and victimized by Mr Jakazi and his priests. Living in fear has de-motivated both students and teachers. Two school construction projects have been interrupted.

Construction at the Girls’ College in Reshape and the Bishop Knight Bruce School in Mutare has been suspended. Some of the funders who were keen to see the projects to completion have been frustrated by Mr Jakazi’s office.

Their help has not been accepted. The CPCA has not been able to complete the projects because of the fear of wastage of resources. Mission schools in Manicaland have been prevented from hosting National Youth Conferences.

They now have to resort to hiring buildings at high cost which prevents many youth from attending and benefitting from spiritual, social, physical, and economic capacity building, which is facilitated by experts invited specifically to help the youth. Many youths are missing out hugely on such opportunities.

Teachers and students at the High School at Daramombe Mission have also been intimidated and told not to associate with their legitimate priests who serve them. Dr Kunonga has begun trying to change the departmental leadership, by serving them with illegal eviction orders, and attempting to bring in his own people to head the respective departments within the Mission.

Authorities have since told Dr Kunonga not to interfere with the Diocese of Masvingo, although he continues to do so. Learning has been disrupted at Daramombe High School ever since the High School Head, who is one of the school account signatories, was evicted and the High School SDC is no longer recognized by Dr Kunonga.

It is feared that standards may fall to rock bottom if Dr Kunonga is not stopped immediately. Daramombe High School is the pride not only of the Church but the District, Province and the nation in terms of academic standards. Last year the school was in fourth position for ‘A’ level results and third position for ‘O’ level results.

Dr Kunonga has a history of destroying each school he seizes. Clear examples (although there are many more) include:

 St John’s High School (Chikwaka) in Goromonzi District

 Langham Girls High School in Centenary

 St Mark’s Chirundazi High School (in Mhondoro)

 St Oswald’s Zimhindo

Surprisingly the District Education Officer for Chikomba (Mr Ngoni Simon Mujuru) [who is also a former Head of Daramombe High School, and was removed by the Ministry due to mismanagement of school funds and property], is abusing his authority.

Without following any Ministerial policy, he facilitated the handover-takeover for Primary and High School Headmasters and appointed his own stooges. The CPCA questions the procedure which the District Education Officer used in demoting the affected Headmasters.

The CPCA also queries how a substantively appointed person can be demoted by a DEO, without any charge of misconduct or the knowledge of the PED, the Permanent Secretary and the Minister.

Moreover, it is not anyone’s responsibility except the Ministry of Education to expel a teacher, more so without any charge for an act of misconduct.

5. Health

Manicaland diocese has been denied access to its numerous health facilities, which have faithfully served their local communities for generations. These included St David’s Bonda Mission Hospital, St Augustine’s Mission Clinic and St Peter’s Mandeya Clinic. Donations of much needed drugs and equipment are now prohibited by Mr Jakazi.

To the disappointment of the community around St Peters Mandeya Clinic in Honde Valley area, Mr Jakazi’s priest instructed the clinic staff to refuse to accept the donated drugs. Tragically two people died needlessly that same day when the drugs were rejected. The drugs they needed were among those rejected.

Honde Valley is a malaria prone area and clinics in such areas need to be always adequately stocked with important drugs. It is sad to note that standards have drastically fallen in some former Anglican Mission Hospitals and Clinics because they have refused to accept these donations.

Patients who normally would be treated at these facilities have had to be transferred to other hospitals because of malfunctioning or obsolete equipment that would have been replaced using rejected grants. Lives that could have been saved have been lost as a result of these diminished standards.

Administrators, doctors, nurses and other workers in Mission Institutions under the control of Mr Jakazi have been compelled to comply with Mr Jakazi’s instruction to refuse to accept any money, drugs or any form of help that comes through the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland CPCA, in order to protect their jobs and their livelihoods.

Experienced staff have transferred to government or non-Anglican Church Hospitals. Many who have endured these intimidations and threats have become extremely de-motivated, which has seriously retarded their performance.

The Daramombe Clinic has been reduced to being run by a single nurse who is loyal to Dr Kunonga. She has caused problems at Daramombe Mission Clinic since January this year, after she refused to comply with an approved lateral transfer to Gandachibvuva Mission Hospital (where she herself had applied to go).

Moreover, she was never under the Daramombe Mission Clinic’s staff establishment, because she came as a relief nurse and is still a relief nurse—but relieving no one, as our staff compliment was normal without her.

We have presented the various cases of clinic staff’s evictions to the Provincial Medical Director’s (PMD) Office in Marondera for further action. A Clinic which is the size of a rural Hospital, with a Maternity Home and wards, cannot be run safely and effectively by a single nurse.

6. Relief and development programmes

Development programmes initiated by the Diocese of Manicaland benefit significantly from the infrastructure in the Mission Schools. A good example is St Augustine’s Mission School. One section of the Mission has been set aside as a Training Centre. Examples of workshops run in this Centre include HIV and AIDS workshops, and Relief and Development workshops.

Use of diocesan infrastructure serves to minimize the costs of running these programmes through the provision of accommodation free of charge. Mr Jakazi’s interference at St Augustine’s Mission has made this impossible. As a consequence, these programmes have been seriously affected because the hire of alternative venues has been very expensive, and this is unsustainable.

Currently the Anglican Relief and Development in Zimbabwe (ARDeZ) is running the Umoja HIV and AIDS programmes, using rented accommodation. Were St Augustine’s facilities being used, costs would be reduced by around fifty per cent, and the number of beneficiaries would be doubled.

The diocese of Harare has been prevented from carrying out many relief programmes by being denied access to its schools. In 2008 it received funds to purchase water purification tablets during the cholera epidemic, and basic medicines, but was prevented by Mr Kunonga from distributing these through clinics and schools.

Instead the diocese had to rely on congregational networks, making distribution much more difficult. The diocese has been able to distribute seed to farmers, but this has also been hampered, by lack of access to church buildings as key distribution and registration points. And the diocese has been denied access to Runyararo Skills Centre, where school dropouts were equipped with life skills.

7. Administration

The Diocese of Harare is currently renting offices at a cost of some US$1600 per month. The diocese has been denied access to its own offices at Pax House, which, as well as housing the diocese, provided a source of income for the Diocese worth around US$3000 per month. This income was used to fund social programmes and the running of the diocese.

In addition to this, parishes have been forced to rent space from other churches and institutions, paying on average between US$300 and US$400 per month. Mothers’ Union has also been forced to rent space for some of their meetings. The Diocese of Manicaland is currently renting offices that cost about US$2000 per month.

The diocese has been denied access to its offices at 113 Hebert Chitepo, Mutare, which has three floors and about fifteen rooms on each floor. Similarly to the Diocese of Harare, were the Diocese of Manicaland using its own office complex, it would generate a further US$2000 or more per month in rental income from two floors (extra free space) within the complex which Mr Jakazi now occupies and has refused to vacate.

Under normal circumstances rental income from the extra space would cover all the diocese’s administrative costs and part of the diocesan clergy’s stipends. And the US$2000 per month which now pays for rented office space would normally be used for various developmental projects in the diocese.

Originally many diocesan programmes, projects and activities were undertaken within this complex, but this has been made impossible. Many church buildings and priests’ houses have been taken over by Mr Jakazi. Congregations have been affected by the loss of their property in the same manner. They have been forced to rent accommodation for priests, and halls for their church services.

8. Clergy training and housing

Sixty-five priests have been evicted from their rectories in Harare Diocese and forced to stay in rented accommodation, paying rent on average of US$450 each per month. An equal number of churches have been taken over resulting in the majority of the parishes paying rent of approximately US$200 per month for the varied places where they now worship.

There are a few parishes which have been offered such places of worship free of payment. In August 2011, police attended Bishop Gaul College, Harare, and served eviction papers to our principal, Friar Joshua. They padlocked the library before they left. The college is not a diocese of Harare institution but belongs to all five dioceses and indeed to the Province (CPCA).

Loss of the books we have there would take us back many years. The diocese now pays about US$800 per month for rental of space for our theological education programmes that cannot be run at Bishop Gaul College.

The Diocese of Manicaland has a clergy training programme, Zimbabwe Theological Education by Extension (ZIMTEE) and Lay Leaders’ workshops which would normally be run at St Augustine’s Mission. Clergy retreats would sometimes use the Mission as a venue too.

For the last week of every month the Clergy on the ZIMTEE programme are supposed to have a one week tutorial session. It has become impossible to hold formal tutorials at St Augustine’s.

Occasionally the Diocese has been able to afford to hire an external venue for the ZIMTEE tutorials, but such a venue is usually not conducive to study, prayer and reflection. Lay Training workshops and meetings cannot be held in our own institutions either.

9. Concluding remarks

We would like sincerely to thank various denominations including the Roman Catholic Church, Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, United Methodist Church, Lutheran Church, Reformed Church, Presbyterian Church, United Church of Christ and Mugodhi Church and others, who have generously allowed some of our congregations to use their church buildings.

We know that some of them have been threatened but have continued to offer us accommodation. Others have painfully told us to stop using their buildings after being threatened. We do not hold it against them. We understand the gravity of those threats and we would not want any denomination to go through what we are currently going through.

We would like to thank all those churches and organisations who have publicly stood in solidarity with us in our suffering especially the Zimbabwe Pastors Conference.

Our appeal to the Christian community in Zimbabwe is that all should stand up for justice, that all should speak out against the unlawful arrests of our people, the beatings and tear-gassing of our congregations, the disruptions of church services, the flouting of Court Orders and partisan behaviour of the police and now the disturbing developments beginning to unfold.

An end to this persecution would enable our church to fully resume its role in serving all of God’s people in our great country of Zimbabwe.