By Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE – The Anglican Church is struggling to pay off $100 000 in water and electricity bills accrued by ex-communicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga.
The dethroned Anglican Church leader, who during his reign ran down church properties, left behind a huge bill that parishioners are struggling to settle.
Last Sunday, parishioners at the Anglican Cathedral were told to make contributions towards servicing the outstanding arrears.
“It was almost a $100 000 and we have now reduced it to about $80 000,” said Reverend Clifford Dzavo, secretary for Harare Diocese. “This includes properties only in direct control of the bishop. If we combine the whole arrears, it could run much higher.”
Chad Gandiya, the bishop of the Diocese of Harare, said they were trying to clear the bill.
“The lawyers have all the information above the exact amount that we are supposed to pay,” Gandiya said.
“But for now, we are paying the arrears in small amounts because since they (Kunonga faction) were using our name, we are supposed to pay. Legally, we are paying because they were using our name. However, with the current economic situation it is also difficult for us to make the payments.”
A member of the church who was at the service on Sunday said: “Parishioners were told to come up with money in order to service council, water and electricity bills that were left by Kunonga.”
Gandiya fought a protracted court battle with Kunonga over control of church properties.
For five years running from 2007 to 2012 after a split of the church, Kunonga ran the Anglican Church with a heavy hand and drove away bonafide congregants to worship out in the open.
In 2012, the self-proclaimed Zanu PF supporter, was “cut to size” by the county’s Supreme Court which ruled that he had voluntarily left the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) and should not interfere with its affairs.
He was ordered to return all church property to the original and legitimate leadership, but up to now he is yet to surrender money and bank accounts to the church.
According to the Anglican Church, Kunonga took with him church assets such as vehicles, and investments that the England-founded church had made in various financial institutions.
At the height of his powers, Kunonga’s minority faction was in control of church properties that included mission schools, clinics and orphanages.
When the CPCA assumed control, most of the buildings were derelict, while some churches had been turned into private colleges.
Despite embarking on a painful reconstruction exercise, progress, according to the Anglican Church, has been sluggish owing to the prevailing harsh economic conditions. Daily News