As the Archbishop of Canterbury prepares to visit Zimbabwe, persecution of Anglicans by the Mugabe government continues. Yesterday, the home of the Bishop of Harare, the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Chad Gandiya, was invaded and robbed of money and communications equipment on the same day as an Anglican priest was released from jail after being arrested for setting foot on his own church’s property.
ACNS describes the robbery:
The Bishop of Harare the Rt Revd Dr Nicholas Chad Gandiya said he is suspicious of a robbery at his house in which only money and communications equipment were taken.
On the same day that international media carried the news of the arrest and imprisonment of Anglican priest Reverend Julius Zimbudzana and of the impending visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Zimbabwe, four men forced their way into the bishop’s home on Thursday evening. They ordered him and his family to lie on the floor and then proceeded to ransack the house.
Bp Chad said, “We gave them all the money we had between us all which came to $600 to $800. They threatened to kill us if we did not give them money. They searched my son’s bedroom and ours for money and any valuables they could get. They literally trashed our bedroom. They took my laptop and my son’s two laptops and all our cell phones.
“They shoved us all into the bathroom and tried to lock us in but it did not work. They threatened to load all our property in cars and take it all away. We rejoice and thank God that none of us were hurt. We simply did what they told us to do.
“I am however, very suspicious of this robbery. It seems what they were after were just the laptops and phones.”
He added that the robbery means that his ability to communicate is now, of course, much more limited than before.
On Tuesday, police in Zimbabwe arrested Zimbudzana for allegedly taking over Anglican church property worth over US$1.5 million.
Highlands Police today (Tuesday 6 September 2011) arrested Reverend Julius Zimbudzana, the priest in charge at St Mary’s Anglican Church for allegedly taking over Anglican church property worth over US$1.5 million as police intensified their persecution of the Anglican Church, hiding behind unjust court rulings.
Dr Nicholas Chad Gandiya, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare in the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) immediately dismissed the charge as persecution of the Anglicans under the CPCA by the police, acting on the instructions of the ex-communicated Dr Nolbert Kunonga.
Zimbudzana was released on orders from the Attorney General.only hours before the home invasion and robbery. ACNS reports:
The robbery took place only hours after the priest in charge at St Mary’s Anglican Church, Reverend Julius Zimbudzana, was finally released from jail after being arrested on a charge of taking over Anglican church property worth over US$1.5 million.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Harare said yesterday , “We thank God that Reverend Julius Zimbudzana was this afternoon released from police custody without any charges laid against him. The Attorney General’s office said the police should investigate their case before making arrests.”
He added, “Although we are afflicted in every way, we are not crushed and we do not lose hope.”
The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. James Langstaff, described his visit to Zimbabwe to the Church Times.
Bishop Langstaff attended a diocesan conference with clergy, and said that it was a “slightly surreal experience, as off-stage we knew clergy were routinely being persecuted” and churches’ property being dispossessed. “Gradually, all of the clergy will be ousted from their own property. But, although Kunonga has the buildings, he has no people. He is only interested in making money.
“Congregations are now meeting in borrowed premises and tents, and are growing. I went to one church meeting in a tent. There was a very positive atmosphere, and people feel they are growing spiritually and are more committed — and feel good will come out of it. The congregations are in really good heart, but are concerned for their clergy.”
Bishop Langstaff said that Bishop Gandiya “was feeling the weight” of the situation: it was difficult for him to take any time off. He called for people to pray for Bishop Gandiya and the Church in Zimbabwe.