Supporters of Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, a close ally of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and an excommunicated Anglican bishop, have reportedly killed one churchgoer and wounded many others in vicious attacks on church members that are unsupportive of Mugabe’s ZANU PF political party and Kunonga's new church.
Rowan Williams, the worldwide head of the Anglican Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury, gave a report to Mugabe Monday that outlined the murder, abuses, harassment, and death threats that Anglican bishops and followers not in line with Kunonga and Mugabe have been receiving, the AFP reported.
According to the 10-page document, “On February 18, 2011 Mrs. Jessica Mandeya of the Harare diocese was murdered.”
The document contained information strongly suggesting that Ms. Mandeya was murdered because she belonged to the Harare Church and consistently refused to join Dr. Kunonga’s Church.
Kunonga broke away from the Anglican Communion three years ago and started his own church that has seized much of the Anglican Church property in the country and have come under control of church health services, denying worshipers much needed aid and equipment donated by humanitarian organizations.
The document further specified the harassment and intimidation churchgoers have been facing saying, “Many members of our congregations have been assaulted and have needed hospital treatment. Zimbabwean bishops have received personal death threats by phone, in person and at gunpoint.”
The report also stated that parishioners have been denied access to their churches and have faced tear-gassing and assault by police when attending church services.
Williams asked Mugabe Monday to “put an end to this illegal harassment by some members of the police whose mandate is to protect civilians."
He also asked that Mugabe allow Anglicans in the country to once again to use properties, which he described as "rightly ours.”
Earlier this month Mugabe called upon lawmakers in his country to “say no to violence in all its manifestations” ahead of upcoming elections.
However, Mugabe is no stranger to the use of force and fraud to stay in power and led a devastating “campaign of terror” against his own citizens in 2008 elections.
Mugabe and his forces burned entire villages, participated in the heinous torturing of citizens, and attacked “non-cooperative” churches.