Zimbabwean poison seeps outwards

Central Kalahari Reserve

Zimbabwean poison seeps outwards into the Anglican Central African Province

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports the Botswana independent newspaper Mmegi (The Reporter) covering the story ‘Reinstate banned priests, orders court’.

This refers to an action brought by seven dissident priests in the Anglican Diocese of Botswana.

In a complicated case the seven are those who support excommunicated former Bishop of Harare, Zimbabwe, the notorious Nolbert Kunonga. Last year Kunonga, soon after breaking away from the Anglican Central African Province, made a flying illegal incursion into the Diocese of Botswana to stir up trouble in Francistown where he persuaded the seven priests to pass a vote of no confidence in Diocesan Bishop Trevor Mwamba. Mwamba responded understandably by suspending them from duties. See our reportage 12th November & 15th November 2007.

Now Lobatse High Court Judge, Key Dingake, has ordered the priests to be reinstated. This, it should be noted, is merely on a technicality as the judge legally had no other choice but it bodes ill for the increasingly beleaguered Central African Province.

In Zimbabwe, self-proclaimed ‘Archbishop’ Nobert Kunonga, a long-time mouthpiece of Robert Mugabe, continues to hold the authentic Anglican Diocese of Harare to ransom forcing closure of churches and occupying the Cathedral (there is a photograph of All Saints Cathedral on our website).

Bishop Sebastian Bakare, the caretaker Provincial Bishop, continues his brave work in caring for the Diocese in conditions that if anything are again worsening as the political power-sharing agreement between MDC Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe is rendered meaningless by Mugabe’s usurping of power. This will remain the case until the Mugabe regime finally comes to an end, but now as Kunonga’s poison leaches into neighbouring Botswana there will be further trouble ahead. Likewise in Malawi, former Archbishop Bernard Malango remains close to his old friend Kunonga and a background influence on acting Dean of the Province, Albert Chama of Northern Zambia.

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION notes that although this involves nominally different countries in practice tribal allegiances, close proximities and an interwoven web of friendships and shared backgrounds links these three otherwise disparate bishops together in an unholy alliance of broad sympathy.

Ironically the Botswana case, whilst it leaves Bishop Mwamba with a group of troublesome priests, does explain why in Malawi for three long years the same Central African Provincial Bishops have procrastinated and tried to avoid the Lake Malawi and latterly the Upper Shire cases of improper legal conduct being brought against them by laity and priests. These cases are still outstanding bringing charges of the fiddling of Episcopal elections in both instances. As they are clearly guilty the Provincial Bishops may well lose and as the old saying goes ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. In the meantime, whilst in Zimbabwe the people starve and in Malawi the churches are left bereft of their rightful bishops, Nolbert Kunonga is laughing (laden with US dollars) all the way to the bank.

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