A letter from Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi and the persecuted Church in Zimbabwe
The source of the persecution is an excommunicated bishop, Norbert Kunonga, an enthusiastic supporter of Mugabe. Kunonga is using police and sundry henchmen to seize church property, intimidate believers and inflict violence upon them. Mugabe, a professing Roman Catholic, will do what he needs to do to disrupt church services in order that recalcitrant Anglicans are subjugated. Kunonga is a staunch ruling party ally who once called Mugabe ‘a prophet of God’; he has been duly rewarded with a sprawling estate. One bishop observes: “As a theologian who has read a lot about the persecution of the early Christians, I’m really feeling connected to that history. We are being persecuted.”
As most of the news coverage of the Church here tends to be consumed with the politics of Pope Benedict’s ordinariate or Archbishop Williams’ gay headache, let us remember that our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe truly know what it is to be despised, rejected, tortured and murdered.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Greetings from the Diocese of Masvingo.
I would like to update you on the recent developments at Daramombe Mission.
Kunonga continues to destabilise the Mission in an effort to forcibly take control of the institution.
He 'ordained' two men who live in different places near Daramombe. These men will obviously assist Kunonga in his efforts to take control of the mission.
I am informed that two Kunonga priests who are also teachers went to the Education office seeking employment in Chivhu. Daramombe mission is in Chivhu area. We are also Responsible Authority to many schools in the Chivhu area.
This is a new method that Kunonga is now using, ie getting his thugs to infiltrate our churches and institutions.
Kunonga is using any means necessary to achieve what he wants to achieve. In my message on April 30, I informed you about a nurse who was suppose to leave Daramombe mission. This nurse is working with Kunonga and she has publicly announced that she recognises Kunonga as the owner of the clinic. I am also in formed by others at the mission that Kunonga promised to appoint her the nurse in charge once he [Kunonga] takes over Daramombe.
On Tuesday 31 May 2011, the Bishop, Priest in Charge, and clinic staff had a meeting at the clinic to discuss some administrative issues. The Kunonga nurse refused to attend the meeting. After the meeting, the Bishop, Priest In Charge and Nurse In Charge went to the concerned nurse and told her to go to Marondera to discuss her transfer with Ministry of Health officials. We also informed her that her services were no longer required at Daramombe mission. Our conversation with her did not even last a minute. The Bishop and Priest In Charge then proceeded to the Primary School for a meeting.
Ministry of Health had transferred the nurse from Daramombe in April 2011. Kunonga stopped this transfer and last week we got a letter from the Ministry of Health stating that the transfer had been reversed.
On Wednesday 1 June, the Nurse In Charge and the Priest were picked up by the Police and taken to Chivhu Police station. They were released after statements were recorded. Kunonga nurse had made false reports of indecent assault to the Police. On Friday 3 June the Bishop was summoned to Chivhu Police station.
Kunona and his thugs always resort to lies and criminal activities such as forging of documents. Recently they forged documents for Daramombe mission Secondary School which they took to the Ministry of Education. All these are efforts by Kunonga to try and take over Daramombe mission. We informed the ministry of Education that the documents they had been given were not authentic.
We will continue to resist efforts by Kunonga to take over Daramombe mission. We are grateful for your prayers.