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Teachers reinstated at Zim mission schools

Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, left, conducts a church service in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sunday, October, 9, 2011. Zimbabwe Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga supports President Robert Mugabe and has been excommunicated from the church for allegedly inciting violence, which has divided the church community over subjects like acceptance of homosexuality and the presence of Williams in the country has provoked demonstrations.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, left, conducts a church service in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sunday, October, 9, 2011. Zimbabwe Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga supports President Robert Mugabe and has been excommunicated from the church for allegedly inciting violence, which has divided the church community over subjects like acceptance of homosexuality and the presence of Williams in the country has provoked demonstrations.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Published Oct 16, 2011

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Teachers and staff evicted from Zimbabwe’s Anglican mission schools by pro-Mugabe renegade bishop Norbert Kunonga, who is loyal to President Robert Mugabe, must be immediately reinstated, the country’s education ministry has directed.

This followed a Harare High Court ruling on Wednesday – bolstered by a thick dossier on Kunonga’s takeover of church property – which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, handed to Mugabe on his visit to Zimbabwe earlier this week.

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The Anglican Church asked for the reinstatement of teachers evicted from two mission schools and the court ruled that the expelled teachers must be allowed to return immediately. Significantly, the education ministry widened the court ruling by ordering the reinstatement of staff kicked out of all mission schools in Zimbabwe.

Kunonga, who was excommunicated by the regional Church of the Province of Central Africa in 2007 after he chased worshippers away from Anglican churches, has also thrown out teachers and taken over mission schools over the last four years, often assisted by police.

The dossier Archbishop Williams handed Mugabe contained a detailed report of how Kunonga had disrupted learning and teaching at mission schools; expelled staff; and taken over at least 40 missions schools and all of Harare’s 32 Anglican churches, including its cathedral, St Mary’s.

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Sources said there was a “heated” meeting this week between Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) education minister David Coltart and senior officials in the ministry, with Coltart angry that he had been kept in the dark about the extent of Kunonga’s takeover of mission schools.

Journalists covering the long trauma in Zimbabwe’s Anglican community were also unaware of the extraordinary extent of Kunonga’s takeover until the bishops’ dossier was made public after the Archbishop’s visit. - Sunday Independent

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