An excommunicated Anglican bishop allied to Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has used tolerance for homosexuals as an excuse to seize an 80-bed orphanage and a group of nearby schools and residences near the town of Murewa.

Bishop Nolbert Kunonga was excommunicated four years ago after inciting violence in support of the ruling ZANU-PF party but claims he split from the church because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Kunonga told staff at the orphanage they had to vacate the building because they “support homosexuality”.

“We refused to listen to Kunonga but he says this place now belongs to him,” an elderly woman who had worked at the orphanage for three decades said.

Many of the orphans were born with HIV and needed regular care and medicine and there are now concerns for their wellbeing.

Kunonga has the protection of police loyal to Mugabe, and had already seized the main Harare cathedral, forcing worshippers into the streets.

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