POLICE working on orders from Anglican Church archbishop Albert Chama have forcefully opened the doors of St Peters congregation in Kitwe, which was locked by irate members in a bid to force the exit of their embattled priest, Father Richard Luonde.
The irate congregants locked St Peters Church in Chimwemwe a fortnight ago accusing Fr Luonde of using church funds to finance priest-cum politician Frank Bwalya and also inappropriate conduct.
Sunday service programmes have failed to take place the previous two Sundays after the church remained locked with a heavy chain and padlocks.
A check last Sunday and the previous Sunday showed the building was still shut and congregants were just milling around the premises when ordinary they were supposed to be in Sunday morning service.
But some congregation members told the Times yesterday that a team of police officers who were accompanied by a few people from the church on Tuesday went to St Peters and broke the chain and the padlock using an axle.
Lameck Zimba, a leader staying at the house within the church premises said some police officers on Tuesday morning came through to the church and forced the doors open.
Mr Zimba said the officers told him that they had been instructed to open the church by archbishop Chama.
“The church has been opened. It was opened by a team of police officers who came on Tuesday morning and were accompanied by some congregation members who said they had been told to open the building by the bishop,” Mr Zimba said.
Bishop Chama could however not be reached for a comment as he was said to have travelled outside the country soon after issuing instructions over the weekend.
But Fr Luonde who yesterday confirmed the opening of the church saying bishop Chama had instructed so.
Asked if the church wrangles had been resolved, he said only the bishop could comment on that matter and suggested to the reporter to get to St Peters’ Church the coming Sunday for the latest although that he (Fr Luonde) would be going to another congregation.