Meanwhile in Zimbabwe it’s a case of plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.
From Anglican Information
With the power sharing deal between dictator Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai now in a predictable state of shambles the people continue to suffer. The Anglican Church has been particularly affected through the actions of excommunicated ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga who as a vocal supporter of the Mugabe regime continues to disrupt and damage. Until Mugabe falls there is little chance of getting rid of the pernicious Kunonga who as we have reported previously is now also interfering elsewhere in the Anglican Province.
Bishop Sebastian Bakare the official caretaker bishop of the diocese of Harare has bravely criticised the Mugabe regime directly. ‘Good governance, justice and peace remain a pipe dream for many in Zimbabwe’, he wrote in a recent Pastoral Letter. He is risking his own person in speaking up so courageously.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION wonders when acting Dean of the Province Albert Chama and former Archbishop Bernard Malango would ever be prepared to say something similar? – the answer is of course never. Hence the major conflict of interest that lies within the very heart of the Anglican Provincial House of Bishops – Malango and Chama’s, still never personally renounced, closeness and friendship with Nolbert Kunonga and the fearful Zimbabwe regime.
From a correspondent in Zimbabwe,
A first-hand account of a nasty little story from one church in a Harare township, St Joseph's, Dzivaresekwa. (DZ)
The priest at this recently built church is a Kunonga man, referred by the locals as 'TheBoy David'. He is running a creche in the church on weekdays, using the money to support himself and Kunonga, who is now living in another township, Kuwadzana. On Saturdays he conducts weddings. On Sundays he has a poorly attended service, except for one earlier this month when Kunonga came bringing a number of outsiders and they held a Confirmation. The main (official Provincial) congregation of two or three hundred have a new priest but are still forced to worship in a classroom at Dziveresekwa High 2.
As some churches have now managed to return to their buildings (it’s not all bad news) the Churchwardens at DZ went to Boy David to suggest that they should follow the court order which was to share the buildings until there was a definitive ruling as to who owns them. He apparently agreed and it was arranged the Bakare group should worship at 12 o'clock when the others were out of the way.
However, the first Sunday, when they arrived they found the church locked. The next Sunday a number of them went early and sat quietly outside singing. When Boy David came out he appeared to think they were going to molest him, got into his car and drove away fast hitting a child who had to be taken to hospital with an injured elbow.
That night the police came from a central police station, Southerton, and arrested the enrolling member of the Mother's Union, and the caretaker's wife.They were left at the DZ station. It was very dirty and, although they were not put in the cells with drunken men and violent offenders, they were very uncomfortable and badly bitten by mosquitoes. Later in the night, the Member-in-Charge said he could not understand why they were being held and let them go home.
The next day the Southerton police came again and this time they were held for two days. The charges were not clear. Fortunately Bishop Bakare had been alerted and sent a lawyer. When they were taken to the magistrates court Boy David did not turn up, and they were released with no case to answer. While this was going on the Mother's Union member's husband, a retired teacher, was also taken to the local police station and charged with kidnapping. It seems he gave them a lesson as to what is meant by 'kidnapping' and they changed the charge. He too was released, but the story shows how Mugabe is still very much in charge and Kunonga’s friends can use the police for their own purposes.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports that cases of cholera are now feared in Zimbabwe together with a predicted famine. People are already surviving on roots and wild plants – or nothing. The economy remains afloat after a fashion because those many Zimbabweans who have fled the regime send money back to their relatives. Mugabe gets his money primarily not from relatives but from the neo colonialist Chinese to whom he has ‘sold’ extensive mineral rights. Surrounding him there is a coterie of about two hundred high level supporters who as a result have access to great US dollar wealth with which they maintain a grip on power. At the same time inflation in the local currency is at scarcely conceivable world-record level of 241 million percent.
Until, not just Mugabe but the whole the elitist ruling group are displaced it is difficult to see how the regime will ever fall. Hence the conundrum for some of the Central African bishops who, thinking only of their own futures, prefer not to step out of line too much.
The solution to the Zimbabwe problem actually lies with those foreign outsiders who are pay-rolling and banking the members of the regime. Perhaps the hoped for new President of the United States might have the courage to freeze their secretive Swiss and London accounts? Ironically, as the world economy is now having such a shake up, it might be possible?
Who knows, it’s all a heady and uncomfortable mix God and mammon. Of the 52 countries in Africa, 17 can be described as having despotic and autocratic dictatorships with correspondingly oppressed peoples. Zimbabwe is now the worst example but if ever (God willing) its regime were to fall it would set quite an example for the overthrow of the others and perhaps be the best thing to happen to Africa since the end of the old colonialism?
So many wistful questions – we hope our many readers will match them with positive prayer, especially for those living, or more correctly surviving, on the front line.