- Last Updated on 23 November 2012
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Civil Society organisations have called for the full investigation of Bishop Kunonga amid allegations of violence, theft, and fraud and child abuse. These reports were revealed after a land mark Supreme Court ruling on the 19thof November 2012 by Deputy Chief Justice Malaba compelling the estranged Bishop Kunonga should return all seized property which included churches, schools, hospitals and orphanages.
In an interview with the Crisis Report Team on the 22ndof November 2012 Bishop Chad Gandiya's spokesperson Mr Precious Shumba said,
"There are reported cases of abuse of children in the various orphanages and schools which were run by the estranged faction. Police reports have been made and arrests are soon to follow and the suspects shall be brought to book.
Shumba also clarified that the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) was also doing its own investigating before lodging full complaints to the police.
"A consolidated report can only be issued at the end of the month of December 2012 as the Anglican Church has over a 100 churches nationwide and all this information cannot be at hand immediately. We need to be as accurate when we report these cases to the police in relation to debts such as electricity and water bills which were incurred whilst under the seizure of properties by the Kunonga faction. A proper audit will be carried out and they shall be put to the accumulators of these bills and they shall be held accountable and necessary legal action will be taken to ensure the rightful persons who accumulated these debts shall pay them off we are going to work closely with the police to ensure that the Supreme court ruling is upheld Kunonga followers are moving out of the properties and although Bishop Kunonga has not vacated he will eventually and more eviction letters are going be issued in coming weeks," added Shumba.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights issued a statement on the 19thof November 2012 stating that the reports of abuse will be looked into and all human rights violations that are discovered will be brought forward to the courts. ZLHR welcomed the judgment delivered by the Supreme court in a press statement which read;
"..Landmark judgment that is in view considered legally sound and has put perpetrators and potential perpetrators of rights violation on notice: the violations of religious rights will not be tolerated by the courts and nobody is above the law including those who claim to be superior human beings by virtue of their allegiance and association to certain political parties".
Reverend Useni Sibanda of the Christian Alliance in an interview with the Crisis Report team welcomed the victory and highlighted that the police should assist in the enforcing of the Supreme Court ruling;
"The court ruling upheld freedom of worship and finally justice has been served, Thousands of worshipers were denied their right to worship and we pray similar issues will not arise again. Political leaders should not interfere with religious formations and let the worshipers conduct their business.Hopefully the court ruling shall be honoured and the police should enforce this ruling as justice should not be served partisan basis" said Reverend Sibanda.
Since 2007 Bishop Gandiya's followers were subjected to threats and at the hands of Kunonga with the aid of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The Supreme Court Landmark ruling was a victory as far as freedom of religion was concerned. They also called for the full investigation of the alleged cases of theft and child abuse.
"Worshipers were constantly harassed and forced out of the church on many occasions for following Gandiya. This was done with the aid of Law enforcement agents who instead of standing for justice and fairness acted in favour of the Bishop Kunonga Bishop Kunonga and his followers should be thoroughly investigated and brought to book if these allegations are true,"
said one such Anglican Patience Chiwanza who stated Kunonga was ruthless and that the Supreme Court ruling was fair and just. She went on to state that Kunonga did not show qualities of leadership and their rights were infringed upon through assaults and abuse by Riot police and Kunonga and justice was given so Kunonga got what was he seeded said Chiwanza."