In both dioceses the bishops have suggested that the plaintiffs remove their Court injunctions and ‘trust them’ – which proposal has been understandably greeted with derision by priests and people who have no confidence whatsoever that trickery, fast dealing and general duplicity will not be the result. Rarely in the Anglican Communion has there been such a wide-scale pastoral breakdown of trust and oversight between bishops and their clergy and people. Acting Dean Albert Chama of Northern Zambia must bear the responsibility and his current policy of force majeure will not work.
In Zimbabwe matters are worsening again and dangerously so with an effective failure of the political power sharing agreement. The only bright spot has been a well-deserved international award presented to Bishop Sebastian Bakare caretaker Bishop of Harare in the front line against the notorious ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga. On 10th November in Stockholm Sweden, Bishop Bakare received the highly respected ‘Per Anger’ human rights award. ‘I am humbled by the award’, said Bakare ‘It amply demonstrates that good will always reign over evil.’
This is true but in Zimbabwe the finality of the sentiment still seems some way off as our reporter says in a message received today:
We have had a slight move on the question of who owns the churches in the Diocese of Harare, but whether it is forwards or backwards who can say.
A week or two ago there was a move to return to using the church buildings.This in three or four places resulted in violence and arrests by the police. The riot squad were brought out in at least one church. So the Diocesan Registrar went to the police to point out that the judgement had been, in the interim (Justice Rita Makarau) judgement that church buildings should be shared (between Kunonga’s few supporters and the real diocese under Bishop Bakare).
However, the Members in Charge at the various police sub stations had all had letters signed by theChief of Police, Chihuri, telling them that CPCA worshippers were not to beallowed into the churches. When Chihuri himself was approached he is reported to have said that the order had 'come from above'. So our lawyers are now taking Chihuri to court on a charge of contempt of court for which the penalty is 30 days without the option. It is hoped that the order will be withdrawn.
Meantime we accept that we will not be 'home' for Christmas.
No news at the moment from Zambia.