More machinations in Malawi

Sunset over Lake Malawi

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports news of acting Provincial Dean Albert Chama’s visit on 21st October to the vacant Upper Shire diocese in Malawi.

Upper Shire diocese was former Archbishop Bernard Malango’s diocese. Provincial Bishops have been trying to impose their preferred episcopal candidate Alinafe Kalemba who is currently Dean of Leonard Kamunga Theological College, Zomba.

Unfortunately Kalemba is not a popular choice and the priests and people have been in dispute with the Provincial Bishops since abortive elections which culminated in a court injunction taken out against the bishops. For the meeting acting Dean Chama, nervous of the people as he is deeply unpopular, arrived with fellow countryman Bishop William Mchombo of Eastern Zambia.

The subsequent meeting, supposedly for discussions, was held in a building surrounded by armed police commissioned by Chama Zimbabwe style to suppress any trouble!

The three priests, Frs Joel Malanda, Roy Makupe and Ernest Mphaya who had brought the court injunction on behalf of the diocese were forbidden entry. Those who were allowed in were not permitted to ask questions but instead has to listen as Chama announced that at the next Provincial bishops’ meeting to be held (safely away from Malawi) in Zambia on 21st December the bishops would impose a candidate of the bishops’ choice on the diocese of Upper Shire.

A member of the laity who asked why the bishops could not call a synod to allow the people to express their views was firmly put down.

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION comments that: This typical autocratic approach on the part of Chama, bodes ill for the diocese. Disaffection for the bishops is running high in Malawi and the fact that neither of the two remaining Malawian bishops were at the meeting is significant.

Recent annual UMCA (Universities Mission to Central Africa) celebrations of the arrival of Christianity in Central Africa were very badly attended by priests and people from the dioceses of Upper Shire and Lake Malawi – not surprisingly as the two dioceses have been so badly treated. Bishop James Tengatenga of South Malawi is said to have ‘lamented’ this fact as it is a national celebration. He of all people should realise what the problem is and why people weren’t there.

Reported theft – no more no less
Meanwhile as an outward and visible sign of the deterioration in morale and good order there are reports of Archdeacon Thom Mpinga of Mangochi East Archdeaconry ‘selling’ a valuable engineering tooling lathe belonging to the Malindi Church Workshops. This ‘sale’ produced Malawi Kwatcha 196,000 (GB Pounds 880 or US dollars 1400 Euro 1100) a huge amount of money in Malawi.

Mpinga ‘sold’ the lathe to a company in Blantyre, Malawi. Understandably the company will now only return the lathe if the money is returned. Unfortunately the Archdeacon cannot now account for it and has apparently confessed to his Church Council. The original value of the lathe was much higher but its ‘loss’ has damaged production at the Church Workshops and threatened jobs.

The Diocesan Chancellor James Kalaile is aware of the problem but the priest has not been disciplined as it is said ‘pressure’ from above not to ‘rock the boat’ at this time has been applied.

We await clarification of this matter from the bishops and will gladly publish their side of the story – however, we imagine we will have to wait a long time!

Zimbabwe Diocese of Harare:
All of this rather sours the launch of the Nehemiah project by Bishop Sebastian Bakare in the Nelson Mandela Hall in the Zimbabawe Agricultural Society grounds, held Sunday 26th October.

Like the Old Testament prophet Bishop Bakare is seeking to rebuild his diocese ‘brick by brick’. The Cathedral is still occupied by ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga but that’s almost a relief because with 5000 present and a confirmation of 1385 candidates during the 8 hour service they would never have squeezed in.

The machinations of Kunonga with his armed police like those in Upper Shire diocese will never overcome God’s people. As a banner at the service proudly read ‘The Diocese is the People. The People are the Diocese.’

From Anglican Information


  1. Armed police! I notice that Bishop Chama is often portrayed as being close to the regime in Zimbabwe. I suppose that this is indeed an 'outward and visible sign.'

  2. My last blog on this subject didn't seem to get through, although I didn't say anything naughty!

    What I did say (second attempt) is that the Central African episcopal elections have the potential to be fair and democratic unlike the 'secret meetings behind closed doors' system in the C of E.

    Trouble is the present in situ Central African bishops are trying to run it the C of E way - with guns!