Lambeth Palace, HQ of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has issued a strongly worded statement in response to media reports that a number of Anglican church services in Harare have been disrupted by Zimbabwean state officials.
“The Archbishop of Canterbury condemns unequivocally the use of state machinery to intimidate opponents of the deposed bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, and is appalled by recent reports of Zimbabwean police forcibly stopping Sunday services in several churches in Harare where clergy have publicly and bravely refused to acknowledge Kunonga's Episcopal authority," the statement says.
It continues: "The Archbishop of Canterbury stands in solidarity with the Province of Central Africa (which covers Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana) and the other loyal Zimbabwean bishops in supporting the acting Bishop of Harare, Bishop Sebastian Bakare."
Lambeth declares: "Nolbert Kunonga was replaced as Anglican bishop of Harare in December of last year after illegally separating from the Province of Central Africa and installing himself as archbishop of Zimbabwe. He did not receive an invitation to the Lambeth Conference when they were issued last May."
It concludes: "Kunonga's position has become increasingly untenable within the Anglican Church over the last year, as he has consistently refused to maintain appropriate levels of independence from the Zimbabwean Government.“
Opponents of the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe have sometimes criticised the Anglican Church for being tall on words but slow in action regarding the collusion of some of its leading figures with the regime.