Zimbabwe: Anglicans worship outdoors while 'devil' squats in cathedral

 Anglicans in Zimbabwe have been forced to hold services out of doors, after the disgraced former bishop of Harare, Herbert Kunonga, blockaded himself in the cathedral, assisted by government security men. Kunonga was expelled from the Anglican Church after he declared an independent diocese and refused to hand over church property and funds to his successor. He also has called for the killing of Mugabe's opponents, taken over white-owned property and installed unqualified men as clergy in his new 'church'. On Sunday Rev Christopher Tapera led a service outside the locked and barred cathedral. He told them: "The bishop is the devil in disguise. He has been sent by the devil to destroy the church. The devil is living in the cathedral," said the priest. The new bishop of Harare, Sebastian Bakare, was installed at a ceremony in a sports centre because access to the cathedral was blocked by heavily built men who described themselves as Kunonga's bodyguards. The police refused to act on a high court order giving Bakare access to the church. "The same methods used to invade the farms is the method used by Kunonga to invade our cathedral," said Bakare. "It's very much politically driven. Political involvement is clear in the way that Kunonga promised to deliver the diocese to Zanu PF. His protection from arrest is telling, even though he is defying high court orders left and right." In contrast, the police last week arrested the high court's deputy sheriff as he arrived with bolt-cutters to enforce a writ permitting Bakare to hold a service in the cathedral. The police then baton-charged and detained the congregation. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Rev Rowan Williams, has called on Kunonga to "look into his soul" and condemned "the use of state machinery to intimidate opponents of the deposed bishop of Harare".

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