Saturday, October 01, 2011

(HERALD) Chief Justice speaks on Anglican row

Chief Justice speaks on Anglican row
Saturday, 01 October 2011 00:00
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter

CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has blasted the Bishop Chad Gandiya-led faction of the Anglican Church for seeking political intervention in the long-drawn property ownership wrangle still pending before the courts. This, the Chief Justice said, was tantamount to interference with the independence of the judiciary.

The Gandiya faction is aligned to the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA). Chief Justice Chidyausiku recently threw out an appeal by the Gandiya faction in which they were challenging the High Court's judgment granting the Diocese of Harare to a faction led by Bishop Nolbert Kunonga.

CPCA has filed a Constitutional application challenging the recent decision of the Supreme Court as well as several applications to stop the execution of the judgment.

After the dismissal of the appeal, the Kunonga faction took control of some of the church property on the strength of the High Court order.
Now the Gandiya-faction faction is alleged to have written to the Supreme Court seeking to meet Chief Justice Chidyausiku for the sake of pushing for the hearing of other pending court cases related to the issue.
The Herald is reliably informed that one of the retired bishops of the Gandiya faction got to an extent of writing to Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa after the dismissal of the Supreme Court appeal.

To this, end the Chief Justice felt the conduct amounted to interference with the justice delivery system.
After the last meeting of September 28, the Chief Justice instructed the registrar of the Supreme Court to write to the parties warning them against seeking political intervention in judicial matters.
"In view of the persistent attempts by the litigants in this matter, in particular the applicant (Church of Central Africa), to try and influence the outcome of this matter outside the judicial process, no further applications will be entertained from either party except in open court...


* Anglican church properties to remain under Bishop Kunonga
* Govt probes evictions at Anglican Church-run schools

"The issues set out above can only be determined by the Supreme Court. I accordingly take great exception to conduct undermining the independence of the judicial process by seeking political intervention in judicial matters," part of the letter read.

The judge said that all the pending Anglican cases in the Supreme Court should be dealt with at once.
He said the matter would either be consolidated or set down before the same court on the same date or one after the other.

The letter sent to Gill Godlonton and Gerrans who are acting for the CPCA and to Chikumbirike and Associates who are representing the Diocese of Harare.
In a letter purportedly written to Minister Chinamasa by Bishop Peter Hatendi on September 23 this year, he was seeking the Minister's assistance in having the Chief Justice recuse himself from handling Anglican cases.

"The church of the province of Central Africa has made a Constitutional appeal against the judgment of Chief Justice Chidyausiku dated August 4 2011 in chambers and requested him to recuse himself.
"Will you assist in the processing of the appeal. I am writing just in case, I am unable to meet you in your office due to your heavy schedule.

"I am founder chairman of an autonomous think-tank whose task is brainstorming on the crisis facing the Anglican Diocese of Harare. By the grace of God, I was the founder Bishop in 1981 and was responsible for reconstruction of rural and urban churches, schools and clinics that were razed to the ground during the war and the construction of new structures.

"My successor Dr Nolbert Kunonga grabbed both the old and the new structures when he resigned in 2007.
"Where is commutative justice to be found save in our courts of law? I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible, please," the letter read.



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