Depredation of the Diocese of Upper Shire

A view of the Upper Shire River

From Anglican Information

Disturbing news from the Diocese of Upper Shire, Malawi, Anglican Province of Central Africa

From: Jean Msosa-Maganga in Malawi -

‘I’m just back from the Diocese of Upper Shire where I heard the disturbing news that a priest at St Andrew’s Church, Mangochi District Centre, has taken a lorry-load of building materials meant for development projects to his home in Likoma. I (like others) have been much disturbed by the news so I have felt it my duty to ask Anglican Information to let the world know what is happening in the Anglican Church, Diocese of Upper Shire.

In the same Mangotchi area money meant for renovation a church cottage at Mpondas has since disappeared and a retired priest who was trying to pursue the issue has been told not to do so. This man is a man of integrity and has worked in the Malawi civil service as a permanent secretary – so you can imagine that he is very disciplined and capable.

The issue at hand is that most of the dioceses of Upper Shire and Lake Malawi are just operating on remote control, meaning that they have no bishops.’

Anglican-Information comments that this is thanks to some of the provincial bishops and their continuing machinations to force their own candidates on the two dioceses against the democratic wishes of the people and clergy. Whilst they are claiming the moral high ground in Zimbabwe they are up to just the same kind of mischief ignoring the wishes of the majority, minus the violence, as the Mugabe regime.

Jean Msosa continues: ‘At the same time those in positions of authority (the provincial bishops) are just there to make money and some of them just don’t care at all and have no vision for the church – other than promoting their own interests.

My plea is; do the bishops realise that they have lost direction to the extent of condoning drunken priests who are bringing shame on the Church?’ – a reference to growing anarchy particularly in Upper Shire.

There follows a plea to the acting Dean of the province, Albert Chama, ‘You mean that you are so heartless to the extent of not allowing the mediation of bishops with integrity to sort out these issues. If it could happen in Kenyan politics you mean that it could not happen here in the Church of God.’

Anglican-Information observes that sadly Bishop Albert Chama has always played the authoritarian card and has never shown any sign of listening to anybody.

Jean Msosa concludes: ‘I pray for the day when these leaders will come to their senses but it had better be soon before the Church is destroyed completely because it has become a free for all with everyone taking their share.’

Anglican-Information reports: We have been receiving heartfelt reports from clergy in Upper Shire diocese of neglected churches, buildings in a poor state of repair and deep resentment against the bishops. Likewise in Lake Malawi diocese we hear that there is a growing shortage of priests as younger ones have moved away (who would want to stay there) and older ones are retiring. Things have got so bad that even Bernard Malango the discredited previous Archbishop is conducting services regularly (albeit with much disgruntlement amongst the people and few attending) in the diocesan headquarters church of St Thomas.

Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana takes on the press

Meanwhile there is some good news: Bishop Trevor Mwamba is reported online on various websites as courageously taking on the media “The rest of the world needs to know that apart from coverage in the West the gay issue is not a pre-occupation of the poor – and we don’t want it imposed on us as a priority agenda. Our agenda is about basic survival food for the hungry and we cannot focus on other agendas. In the words of the Swahili proverb, ‘an empty stomach has no ears to hear with’.”

“I can only pray”, Mwamba goes on, “that the media will be as passionate in reporting those issues as they are on the homosexual debate.”

Anglican-Information reminds readers that once again this year harvests in that region of Central Africa covered by the Anglican Province are decidedly mixed, mostly poor and threatening famine.

Some glimmers of hope from Zimbabwe

Readers worldwide will have been encouraged that parliamentary opposition leaders at last are beginning to find a voice with the election of MDC Lovemore Moyo as Speaker. Also at the State opening of the Zimbabwean parliament the heckling of previously inviolable ‘President’ Mugabe indicates that despite all the intimidation things are changing. Any eventual removal of the Mugabe regime will affect profoundly the Anglican Church and province whose bishops Sebastian Bakare and Peter Hatendi have bravely led their people against the thug ‘archbishop’ Nobert Kunonga.

Kunonga position weakens: An extraordinary recent statement by one of the two vice – presidents of Zimbabwe at his son’s funeral on 6th August chastised the two Kunonga faction clergy officiating at the service for backing Kunonga. “They should sit down as priests and resolve their differences.” This seems to indicate a lessening of support for Kunonga, which can only be good news. (See here.)


  1. Anglican Information are good at getting the real people to speak.

    I like your nice aerial pictures of Upper Shire but there's bad news, as usual, it seems. The bishops are just back from Lambeth and their indaba groups - they need to continue in the same spirit.

    There does seem to be a double standard inasmuch as the Zimbabwean bishops Bakare and Hatendi are trying to establish the will of the people whilst in Malawi the bishops are trying to thwart it.

    It's not good to hear that monies are going astray - whose money?

  2. There's a lot of news about Trevor Mwamba these days..... He's clearly a man to watch and isn't afraid of upsetting the conservative press who are sure to have a go at him.

    It's time now for Lambeth and the non Gafcon Communion to speak up as plainly and call their (Gafcon's) bluff.

    As for the bishops of the Central Province, if it wasn't so serious they'd be a laughing stock. Imagine such carryings on in for example, Tunbridge Wells - Diocese of Rochester!

  3. What depressing reading. I long for some good news to come out of Malawi.