Anglicans fear arrest in Zimbabwe
Anglicans in Zimbabwe fear they will be arrested if they commemorate the
shrine of an Anglican missionary.
Worshippers in the Diocese of Masvingo gather each year to celebrate the
life and ministry of Arthur Shearly Cripps, who served in the country for 20
years with the Society for the Propogation of the Gospel. Cripps died in
Last year they were blocked from holding their celebrations at the Shearly
Cripps shrine by the excommunicated bishop, Dr Norbert Kunonga, after he
claimed authority over the site and 78 Anglican churches in Masvingo
According to the Bishop of Masvingo, the Rt Rev Godfrey Tawonezwi, the
police have labelled this year’s planned gathering “illegal”.
There are concerns that the pilgrims may be arrested if they go ahead with
their celebration at the shrine from 3 to 5 August.
Bishop Tawonezwi wrote in a letter to supporters that Kunonga had placed
posters up in Chivhu Town announcing that he would be going to Shearly
Cripps shrine on the same weekend as Masvingo Diocese had originally planned
to hold its gathering, from 27 to 29 July.
The bishop said the police had written to the diocese declaring all Anglican
Church property to be under the custodianship of Kunonga, a claim refuted by
Speaking of the 3 to 5 August celebrations, Bishop Tawonezwi said: “We do
not know what will happen because the police are insisting that our
gathering to celebrate Shearly Cripps day is illegal. We will wait and see
what will take place this coming weekend.”
Earlier in the year, the diocese reported that Kunonga had forcibly taken
over the Darambombe Mission, with the support of police who threatened to
arrest anyone who entered the property.
“We, in the Diocese of Masvingo, are Zimbabweans but we are being harassed
by our own police,” said Bishop Tawonezwi.
“It is very clear that the police in Chivhu where the shrine is situated
have taken sides in this matter. It is most unfortunate.”