Zimbabwean bishop seizing church homes from ‘pro-gay’ Anglicans
In Zimbabwe, the usurpation of the Anglican Church continues as widespread homophobia is used to fuel a schism that favours supporters of dictator Robert Mugabe.
Reverend Dzikamai Mudenda was driven from his home in Mabvuku, just outside Harare last week.
Michael Chingore, registrar for the Anglican Diocese of Harare, told ENInews: “The Rev. Dzikamai Mudenda and his family left after they were threatened by people from the Kunonga group who came with copies of the court judgment. They have been going around the vestries and parishes dropping copies of the judgment and demanding that the church officers leave.”
Nolbert Kunonga was an Anglican bishop until his excommunication in 2007. He rose to prominence in 2004 as head of the Diocese of Harare in Zimbabwe before his links with Robert Mugabe caused insurmountable controversy.
Taking advantage of anti-gay feeling, he then railed against the Anglican Church, and installed himself as head of the new Anglican Province of Zimbabwe.
Kunonga told the New York Times he wanted control of the 3,000 Anglican churches, schools, hospitals and other properties in Zimbabwe, and those in Zambia, Botswana and Malawi.
The eviction of a priest on 16 August in Mabvuku follows the seizure of control of churches.
Zimbabwe’s current regime takes a hard line in its condemnation of homosexuality. Earlier this year, Mugabe called Britain ‘gay filth’.
However, theories have been put forward that Kunonga has used the regime’s opposition to gays to discredit the Anglican Church, which has never been seen to take a openly liberal stance on the issue, and use that public support to seize control of its assets.
It is illegal in Zimbabwe for two members of a sex to hold hands, hug or kiss under laws enacted by the regime in 2006.
In 2010, it was reported that gays and lesbians in the country face ‘corrective rape’ if they are discovered.