The Hunter case - false accusations and irresponsible reporting countered.

The ANGLICAN-INFORMATION team of volunteers regularly monitor what is known colloquially as the ‘blogosphere’. This is collective term that embraces the concept of a community on the Internet of those who ‘blog’ or in other words those who produce web logs, usually in response to news items posted on websites such as our own.

This unmonitored and untrammelled virtual world of online opinion can be eccentric even downright crazy but it is increasingly important as a vehicle for opinion and getting at the real news. ‘Bloggers’ often post their contributions under pseudonyms and occasionally under their real names.

In this respect we would point readers to reputable and moderate sites such as ‘Thinking Anglicans’ or ‘MCU Only Connect’ both of which can easily be found using Internet searches.

From the ‘Thinking Anglicans’ site in the last few days some information regarding Malawi. Itself quoting the UK Church Times weblog and respected journalist Pat Ashworth in a Lambeth Conference article, Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana, former Dean of the Anglican Central African Province has been trying to make sense of the complicated situation in the Anglican Communion.

False accusations: This article suddenly produced a comment from a ‘robroy’ posted on Monday 28th July accusing Mwamba of trying to foist the British priest Nicholas Henderson on the Diocese of Lake Malawi, and accusing both of them of somehow being related to the death of the late Canon Rodney Hunter of Nhkota-kota.

Irresponsible newspaper reporters: Readers will long ago recall that thanks to the columns of UK newspaper ‘The Times’ and reporter Ruth Gledhill the false accusations of the poisoning of the late Canon Hunter were widely circulated. Despite having long since been discredited (the so-called poisons were in fact medications) an innocent man, Leonard Mondoma (Hunter’s faithful cook) languished in Nkhota-kota prison for 18 months and the other accused (and briefly imprisoned) Bernard Mlota has since died – a death hastened, relatives now claim, by his imprisonment and the subsequent press hounding and stoking up of the case from the likes of Ms Gledhill. However, at no point does Ruth Gledhill point the finger of accusation at the real culprit in this tragic story, namely the suspended priest Denis Kayamba on whose accusations alone the arrests were originally made.

The response of the Internet: But now, better late than never and in response to the iniquities of the misreported Hunter poisoning story, including the suffering of the two innocent men together, with the unfair sacking of Bishop Trevor Mwamba, various bloggers take up ‘robroy’s’ accusations on the Thinking Anglicans site:

‘Cryptogram’ responds: ‘It makes one wonder at the extent of the skulduggery behind his (Bishop Mwamba) deposition as Provincial Dean by Archbishop Bernard Malango and just whose strings were being pulled there?’ – a reference to the sacking of Mwamba and his replacement by Malango clone Bishop Albert Chama of Northern Zambia.

‘BillyD’ responds: Leviticus 19 v 16 – look it up robroy. The text reads ‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbour’s life’. ANGLICAN-INFORMATION comments: In Malawi it should be noted still has the death penalty, a fact that robroy and Ruth Gledhill need to reflect on before continuing with false accusations.

‘MKP’ responds: ‘Just where is the evidence for this (the poisoning of Hunter) Robroy? Could you perhaps be a confidant of the retired Bishop of Upper Shire (Malango) - perhaps?’

‘Penwatch’ responds: ‘Robroy’s comments about Bishop Trevor Mwama and the death of Canon Rodney Hunter in Malawi must rank as some of the silliest and most libellous posted on this blogsite for some time.

The facts are that Hunter was not poisoned, he died of bowel cancer for which he had had a major operation. When he died a suspended priest named Denis Kayamba accused Hunter’s loyal and faithful cook and one other of ‘poisoning’ Hunter, with no evidence whatsoever – Ruth Gledhill of the Times mischievously ran this story, uncritically. They (the accused) were both immediately imprisoned – subsequently the other man was released (he has since died) but the cook Leonard Mondoma continued to languish in life-threatening conditions in prison for 18 months.

Anyone, such as Robroy who makes such a stupid accusation is in danger of being complaisant in an appalling miscarriage of justice.

By the way, as far as I know Trevor Mwamba and the Bishop-elect of Lake Malawi have never met and when Hunter died, Mwamba was in Botswana and Nicholas Henderson in London.

Perhaps Robroy would like to visit Nhkota-kota prison for a fact-finding tour – he might not be ready to make such claims in future?

At this point Ruth Gledhill the troublemaking Times journalist (clearly stung by the comments) pops up and says: ‘Ref the above, just to make it clear, I wrote about Hunter’s death after the two men had been arrested and charged. The above comment might give the impression that the men were charged partly as a result of a story I wrote, which is not the case.’

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION responds to Ruth Gledhill – you are being disingenuous and irresponsible because you have created a story and its concomitant ramifications, never denied or corrected by you, that has gone round the world in a most damaging way, being reproduced as authentic news in numerous papers and articles. This has probably contributed (as the relatives now imply in recently made claims) to the death of Bernard Mlota and to the long, life-threatening (mostly without any charge) incarceration of Leonard Mondoma – Mondama has not yet recovered from the effects of his imprisonment.

At least a public apology should be forthcoming and perhaps you Ruth Gledhill would like to pay a visit to an African prison to see just what it might be like to spend some time there?

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION says to Ruth Gledhill – it would be better if you kept out of Africa and from interfering in matters about which you do not fully understand – you are supposed to be an investigative journalist with a responsibility to publish the truth, not your own prejudicial opinions.

Finally the words of ‘Malcom+’ ‘Robroy rarely, if ever, bring facts to bear. All he contributes is serial slander and ad hominem attacks.

Here is what we know: The Diocese of Lake Malawi chose a bishop. He was, despite robroy’s lies, not ‘foisted’ on them by anyone.

The then Primate (Bernard Malango) of Central Africa engineered a failure of the necessary consents, using accusations of a gay-positive position as a wedge issue. The then Primate proceeded to sack Mwamba as Dean of the Province on the grounds that he was not sufficiently homophobic.

Now, with the retirement of the then Primate, his loyalists continue to sideline Mwamba, continue to prevent the appointment of a new bishop in Lake Malawi …………. all because they do not believe they can control the outcomes.’

Thus ANGLICAN-INFORMATION concludes a small excursion into the world of the blogosphere where ironically the truth may be found if you look carefully enough. 

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