The wave of revolutions reminds us that there are feared tyrants elsewhere.
The Zimbabwe Independent reports Anglican bishops fear ‘Kunonga death threats’. The alliance of former bishop Kunonga with Mugabe and their campaign of terror have not gone away:
Chad Gandiya of Harare, Ishmael Mukuwanda of Central Zimbabwe, Cleopas Lunga of Matabeleland, Godfrey Tawonezvi of Masvingo and Julius Makoni of Manicaland claimed that the faction hired assassins to eliminate them for blocking Kunonga from becoming Archbishop of the Province of Central Africa.?
Tawonezvi said two men claiming to work for the faction visited him last month and confessed that they had orders to assassinate him and the other bishops because they were a threat to Kunonga’s ambition of being ordained archbishop.
Tawonezvi said the men who declined to identify themselves approached him under the pretext of discussing problems in the Anglican Church and when he informed them that these were only prevalent in Harare, they warned him that he would bear the consequences if he continued to resist Kunonga.
Kunonga dismissed the bishops’ allegations telling the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday: “Be careful of doing useless things.? If someone wants to be assassinated, they will just be assassinated. I don’t do such things. What does he (Tawonezvi) have that makes him a target of assassination?”
The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been divided since Kunonga, a staunch disciple of President Robert Mugabe, in 2007 said he was pulling out of the Harare Diocese of the Church of the Province of Central Africa saying it supported homosexuality.
Last week an 89 year-old priest was murdered.
Update. ACNS has a message from a pastoral letter from Manicaland, Zimbabwe which is reproduced below:
A pastoral letter from Zimbabwe
Anglican Diocese of Manicaland (CPCA)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the love of God our Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
I write this letter with great appreciation of your proclamation of the Gospel in your churches, communities and families and your perpetual faithfulness to the spirit of Jesus Christ despite the hardships and dangers you face every day. In Christ we have a model offidelity, commitment, faithfulness and obedience to God and our calling. Although faith does not insulate us from the daily challenges and complexities oflife, it intensifies and propels our desire to confront them boldly in light of the Gospel which has come to us through Christ. Faith in the Risen Christ is our greatest and ever-ready resource as we soldier on through the myriad problems of being harassed by the police at the behalf of Norbert Kunonga, Elson Jakazi and their supporters, Kunonga and Jakazi continue to manipulate the security forces. An order or command given to police officers by Dr. Kunonga is taken and exercised as if it were coming from the police commissioner. Some police officers have been honest enough to say, “We know that what we are doing is unfair and not lawful but if we do not do it we risk losing our jobs because Dr Kunonga has the power to do so.”
Some police officers are also living in great fear of someone who does not even exist in their structures. I believe all those who join the security services do so in loyalty to their country. All citizens including our Church members look up to them as the custodians of their security as well as freedom. When they carry out their duty properly, they are contributing to the maintenance of peace. However, we are baffled because in many of our Churches, police are not associated with peace making but wreaking havoc and harassment of innocent, harmless, and peaceful worshipers.
Every day we look for justice, but all we see is injustice ( Isaiah 5:7). Every Sunday we yearn for fellowship, edification and spiritual growth, but all we hear are cries for help from congregations who have been forced out of their churches, churchwardens and priests who have been arrested by police. At St David’s Bonda Church on the 6th of February 2011, police from DC Mutasa forced the CPCA congregation of about 300 out of the Church claiming that Mr. Chiwanza (Jakazi’s priest) was the one authorized to use the Church building. In actual fact this is contrary to the High Court Consent Order of 12 October 2009. Again it defies all logic to have three hundred worshippers worshiping in the open, sitting on wet grass, in cold and rainy weather whilst their church building is empty. Mr Chiwanza should have been embarrassed to be in the church by himself. He has no followers at Bonda, He simply disappeared from the empty church. The Bonda congregation is vibrant in or outside the church. I am
greatly concerned that in order to conceal their embarrassment, Mr. Jakazi and his priests are now forcing the police to drive our congregations at least 200 meters away from the church premises. Psalm 72:12 however reminds us that “He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.”
We strive for peace as a nation and as communities. Peace is the product or fruit of order. Order in society must be shaped on the basis of respect for the transcendence of God and the unique dignity of each person, which is in turn is based on freedom, justice, truth and love. A leader or society that ignores these basic facts is on shaky ground. Dr Kunonga and Mr Jakazi clearly have no respect for God as they are chasing worshipers from the house of God. They have no respect for the law either as they are breaking into churches and priests’ houses with police support. At St David’s Bonda, Mr. Chiwanza hired a locksmith to break into the church building and also went on to break into a safe in the church. The police watched this criminal activity in silence. Dr Kunonga and Mr. Jakazi and their followers are putting their
trust in police and other security forces, but we will put our trust in the Lord. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.” (psalm 20:7-8) Joshua 1:9 tells that our true courage comes from God; who is stronger than our mightiest foes and that He wants to use His strength to help us. Respect is earned. One has to work for it. Unfortunately, Mr. Jakazi has been out in full force to terrorise priests and church councils as well as headmasters in Anglican Schools and their School Development Committees (SDCs) demanding respect and recognition. St Anne’s Goto High School in Whedza District is under CPCA and had a new deputy headmaster who is a faithful Anglican under CPCA being
appointed by the Ministry of Education. Mr. Jakazi tried to terrorize the headmaster and force him to fire the new deputy headmaster. The headmaster was very professional and did not give in to the silly demand. Mr. Jakazi tried to intimidate and manipulate the District Education officer, the Provincial Education Director, and even the Permanent Secretary of Education but failed at all levels. He is currently trying to visit, destabilize, and demand levies from a lot of Anglican Schools in Manicaland where he is no longer recognized as a bishop. I would like to advise all school headmasters, teachers, school boards, and school development committees in all Anglican Schools in Manicaland to remain firm and professional and not give in to pressure and intimidation. Schools like St James Nyamhingura, Holy Family Nyatsanza, have been visited and intimidated but we ask them not to give in. Given the current unstable climate, our church leaders, especially priests, need spiritual stamina and wisdom. We can be nourished and sustained by adhering to priestly spirituality. Priests and indeed all Christians, are called to demonstrate the commitment, vigor, generosity and energy demonstrated by Christ who offered himself out in love for us on the cross. An effective priest must possess or live the priestly spirituality. Although this kind of spirituality is a gift and a blessing, it requires proper
maintenance and care. The challenges and critical suffering that we are going through as a Diocese should not at any point divert our attention from Christ or destroy our spiritual stability.
Love, compassion, respect, humility, self discipline and obedience are still paramount even in our current crisis. We continue to suffer a critical shortage of trained priests in the Diocese since we only have about thirty percent of the total number of priests that we should have. Therefore, there is a serious need both for more careful vocational discernment on the part of Church leaders, and for more in-depth education and instruction of aspirants to the priesthood given the current magnitude of our crisis in the Diocese. Despite the precariousness of the means available to do so, by faith this will be possible. Every ecclesiastical division has to play its part by contributing towards clergy training in various ways especially through
Lenten offerings which go towards clergy training. This year we have one deacon, four candidates who will be going to Bishop Gaul College, and three candidates who are studying with the Zimbabwe Theological Education by Extension. The Diocese continues to experience serious financial dificulties. We are failing to pay clergy stipends, office staff, and legal fees. Our parishioners are struggling to support their parishes financially. What the Diocese is getting from monthly Assessments from parishes is inadequate to meet the costs of running the Diocese. Our lawyers have represented us in many cases and we have not yet paid them. We owe them in excess of U.S.$30,000 for work done in the past six months alone. The lawyers have informed us that they will not attend to any of our cases until we clear our arreas. Given the prevailing situation where our parishioners and priests are arrested often, we cannot do without the legal help. However our challenges have not dampened our spirits nor have they affected our hope and faith in God. Our congregations are vibrant and continue to grow despite worshiping outside their church buildings. Some of the church buildings may be too small when we finally get back to our churches.
This letter is intended as an expression of Christian faith, affirming the confidence we have that the Risen Christ is with us at this moment of crisis. Our strong belief in Christ’s presence and power among us sustains us in confronting the awesome challenge we have in the Diocese of Manica land armed with the precious resource of faith. Be encouraged by Isaiah 41: 10 … ”Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Prayer is the lifeline that connects us to the Lord God our helper who has promised so many blessings for us and who is ready to deliver the help we need. We all need to remain connected to the Lord our God through praying without ceasing. The time of Lent is an opportune time to intensify our spiritual warfare through praying and fasting.
We thank all those who are supporting our Diocese, in kind, financially, and spiritually through prayers. That support is making a big difference and continue to give us more strength to soldier on. Special mention goes to Southwark Diocese (Woolwich Episcopal Area), U.S.P.G., Godalming Parish, St Mary the Virgin Hampton Parish, CR Fathers Mirfild and other organizations and individuals who have committed a lot of resources to help the Diocese of Manica land.
In Christ’s service
+ Julius Manicaland
Rt. Rev. Dr. Julius T. Makoni
Anglican Diocese of Manicaland CPCA
146 Hebert Chitepo Street