REBEL Anglican cleric Nolbert Kunonga claims the Archbishop of Canterbury is visiting Zimbabwe in October to “lobby for homosexuality” and “represent neo-colonialism”.
Kunonga, who was banished by the main Anglican Province of Central Africa and the worldwide Anglican Church in 2007, charged that Archbishop Rowan Williams was a “civil servant on a mission”.
“The Anglican Church is a political organisation when it is in England,” said Kunonga, who denied he was a Zanu PF “puppet”.
He added: “Rowan William was appointed by the Queen and the Prime Minister and he is a civil servant of Britain. In a political and economic environment, the civil servant represents and symbolises with his State.
“He is a diplomat like Charles Ray (US Ambassador); he is coming to represent neo-colonialism. He is coming to lobby for homosexuality and for him it is a timely move as we are making our constitution.”
Archbishop Williams is set to meet President Robert Mugabe on his visit, but no dates have been confirmed.
The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe split in 2007, and ever since, there have been violent clashes between worshippers loyal to Kunonga – who has praised Mugabe as a "prophet from God" – and Chad Gandiya, the rival Bishop of Harare.
Kunonga was excommunicated after being accused of inciting violence in sermons supporting Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, although he insists he split from the Anglican Church because of its position on gay marriage.
Leaders of the global Anglican Communion have condemned gay relationships as a violation of Scripture. However, the Anglican Communion is loosely organised without one authoritative leader such as a Pope, so some individual provinces have decided on their own that they should move toward accepting same-gender unions.
In 2003, the U.S. Episcopal Church caused an uproar in the worldwide fellowship by consecrating its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of the state of New Hampshire.
Thought to enjoy the protection of Mugabe loyalists in the police, he has taken over the main Harare cathedral and church bank accounts.
Last week, Bishop Gandiya accused Kunonga of seizing mission schools and priests’ homes on the church premises near Murewa, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of the capital, Harare. The properties seized include an orphanage with 80 children.
Williams will use his visit to plead with Mugabe to intervene. Eight months ago, the Archbishop wrote an open letter to Mugabe urging him to "put an end to these abuses forthwith".
But some have criticised his trip which they say could be turned into a propaganda coup by Mugabe. It is the first visit by a high-profile British figure for almost 10 years.
Williams will also visit Malawi and Zambia next month.