10/11/2008

Moves against Mwamba?

Bishop Trevor Mwamba




Anglicans Planning Bishop Mwamba’s Ouster?
KHONANI ONTEBETSE

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Some senior members of the Diocese of Botswana are said to be lobbying members of the Anglican Church for the ouster of Bishop Trevor Mwamba through a motion of ‘no confidence’.



Contacted for comment, Bishop Mwamba said the Church would issue a press statement this week, but he would not comment on the allegations.

“We don’t want to bring about division within the church, all we would like to do is to fight spiritual poverty,” Bishop Mwamba said.

The church’s secretary, Father Benjamin Moleko, would neither confirm nor deny the allegations, merely saying, “I can’t comment on something that is not official.” He said the Bishop was elected by members of the Dioceses and one of the options is that the Bishop can resign in the event of upheavals.”

Father Moleko denied reports that the church was appealing the high court’s judgment that ruled in favour of seven banned priests and ordered them to be reinstated. “That is a false statement. The church is not appealing. We are following the court order,” he said.

But some sources within the church claimed that the Bishop had announced the Church’s intention to appeal, something which did not go down well with some followers.

However, Father Moleko confirmed that the St Peter's Anglican Church in Mogoditshane had written a letter to the church dated 20 October 2008 in which they dissociated themselves from any intention to appeal. “We will write a pastoral letter to all the churches around the country. The priests who were banned need to be reissued with new licenses. We have learnt that some of are already preaching,” he said.

According to information received by The Gazette several senior members of the Dioceses of Botswana across the country are caucusing for Mwamba’s expulsion, scheduled for some time before Christmas. The Gazette obtained exclusive information from some members of the church, who said they were “unhappy and we have decided that we should do something about this.” It is also reported that some sections of the congregation are planning demonstrations against the Bishop.

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In a divided church the court is a weapon to hand for all sides. It is not surprising that the clergy who won their reinstatement will use their victory as a platform for further action. They have put the diocese on the back foot. They have achieved considerable publicity for their cause. They have been able to present themselves as martyrs, victims of arbitrary power.

None of which puts them in the right.

There is a very good chance that this dispute will come back to the courts in some form or other and the decision at that point could fall to one side or the other. It will make no substantive difference.

No court case is going to expunge poison from the system nor make those who have fallen out friends again. It will only feed enmity.

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