Zimbabwean priest’s life latest toll in Harare strife

Zimbabwean Anglicans in Harare (Church of the Province of Central Africa) could find themselves in a place of fear and intimidation depending on which side of a church-politics war they happen to be standing.

Rev. Jesca Mandeya, an 89-year-old priest, was recently murdered.

The Rt. Rev. Chad Nicholas Gandiya, bishop of the Diocese of Harare, claims it has to do with Mandeya’s allegiance to her diocese.

As a Bishop I am concerned that some of my people are going to be killed for the simple reason that they belong to a certain denomination.

We are witnessing the police taking sides with the Kunonga camp and preventing our church members to use church properties and facilities despite having some High Court judgements that we should be co-existing.

One of our church members was murdered last week in Murehwa for reasons believed to be infighting in the church.

In his pastoral letter initially covering the situation, Gandiya says Mandeya had “received threats … in preceding weeks and days as she consistently refused to join Dr Kunonga’s Church.”

Nolbert Kunonga, a former bishop of Zimbabwe and crony of President Robert Mugabe, was excommunicated in 2008. Kunonga changed his title to archbishop and kept going despite losing status. There’s now a legal battle over who owns what.

At their meeting last month in Dublin, the Primates wrote to Mugabe protesting the harassment and intimidation of CPCA Anglicans.

We believe that the appalling situation experienced by members of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe seriously infringes their right to justice, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and personal security under the law guaranteed by the constitution of Zimbabwe and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. Therefore, we respectfully beseech you to use all the power and authority of your office to put an end to these abuses forthwith. We are convinced that the unmerited, unjust, and unlawful persecution of the members of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe damages further the good name and reputation of the Republic of Zimbabwe and results in untold and unnecessary additional suffering for many thousands of people.

We wish you to be aware that throughout the Anglican Communion Christians are holding their brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe in their prayers; and we, as Primates of the Communion, stand in solidarity with the bishops, clergy, and people of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.

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