[Anglican Communion News Service] The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has ruled in favor of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in a legal case involving the province and breakaway former bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland Elson Jakazi.
“We are glad to share with you the good news that the long-awaited judgment is out and it is in our favor,” the Rev. Luke Chigwanda, diocesan secretary, told ACNS. “Thank you for your prayers, and may you please continue to pray for us as we get into the last phase of moving into our properties. Pray especially for the bishop as he does the paperwork to facilitate evictions.”
In 2007, Jakazi and his supporters broke away from the province and took over the cathedral, churches and many other church properties. But a final ruling by the Supreme Court confirmed that Jakazi and his supporters had withdrawn from the church “in their individual capacities.”
It added, “The diocese could not be withdrawn by the applicants [Jakazi and supporters] from its first respondents [CPCA].”
Bishop of Manicaland Julius Makoni said he was very happy with the outcome.
“The Supreme Court’s judgment in our favor brings an end to uncertainty in the diocese. Now we know where we stand and can start the process of rebuilding the properties,” he said.
The diocese’s experience was “difficult and excruciating but, being a people of faith, we knew there was a purpose in all this and knew there was light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “We knew that God would not abandon us and that we would win at the end of the day.”
In November 2012, the Anglican Diocese of Harare also won a long-running legal battle with excommunicated former bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga when the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe ruled that CPCA was the lawful owner of all diocesan church properties.
Reacting to the most recent ruling, CPCA Archbishop Albert Chama said the battle in Manicaland had “been a long, rough road, but it’s a joy to the province since, in the end, we have seen the victory and justice has finally been done.”
“The victory brings a different dimension to the faith and the missions of the church,” he added. “People never had the freedom to worship and yet the church continued to grow.”
Makoni said he appreciated the support given by the rest of the Anglican Church.
“The Anglican Communion cares. One part was suffering, but the amount of support that we got was amazing,” he said. “We maybe small, but we were never left alone by the communion.”
“We should be gracious in victory,” he added. “We should not gloat and should stay focused because we have learnt through hope and faith that there is victory at the end.
“We should now look with compassion on our brothers on the other side and let them know we are the light and they should come and join us.”