News from Zimbabwe

Roy Bennett, victim of power play in Zimbabwe

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION comments that following the recent ‘swearing in’ of Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe hopes have been been high for a new era of power sharing in Zimbabwe. However, already with the arrest of Roy Bennett MDC treasurer and deputy agricultural minister at Harare airport, and procrastination on the part of the Mugabe regime, most fear that it will be business as usual. From the Anglican Church’s point of view and the Diocese of Harare, this is no time to be replacing Bishop Sebastian Bakare.

Some conservative factions in the press have dismissed our concerns that dissident bishop Nolbert Kunonga could influence the recently announced elections to replace Bakare. However, we remain concerned that the Central African Province is taking a great risk, for reasons best known to its episcopal leadership, in calling for elections for a new bishop at this time.

The Rt Rev’d Christopher Boyle, Diocese of Northern Malawi - news that the last remaining white bishop in the Central African Province has announced his retirement this summer has come as a surprise. Bishop Boyle, aged 58, has been bishop of Northern Malawi since 2001 and is not due for retirement. It has been widely rumoured that he is unhappy with the direction that the Province is currently taking. We hope to carry more of this news in a subsequent release.

Meanwhile what does it feel like in Zimbabwe? Here is a first hand account:

‘Many of us had hoped that with the ray of light in the political situation there would be some change for the better in the Harare Diocese (CPCA). But so far rather the opposite. Guess who took charge of the prayers at the swearing in of our new Prime Minister?

Quoted in the Zimbabwe Independent:

“Controversial Archbishop Norbert Kunonga opened the event by reading the biblical story of dry bones before closing in prayer”.

The country's battered economy and the humanitarian crisis across the country, Kunonga said, ‘was allegorical to the state of affairs in ancient Iraq referred to in the Bible, trusting in divine intervention for the immediate turnaround of fortunes following the formation of the inclusive government'.

Kunonga's other activity leaves a bad taste in the mouth. He has sent out e-mails from his e-mail address (Diocese of Harare) to at least four possible doners over the apparent signature of Bishop Sebastian Bakare. The e-mails contain a long fabrication about the bishop’s wife Ruth Bakare having fallen seriously ill, and appealing for thousands of US dollars to enable her to be treated. The address to send money was Union Avenue Box 7, which is the Cathedral Box number. Fortunately, this e-mail has been checked back with Bishop Sebastian, and hopefully no money has been sent to Kunonga.

One wonders what would befall anyone who did this so blatantly in any country where there is the rule of law’.

And received by us a warning e-mail as follows:
There is an e-mail circulating purporting to be sent by the Bishop of Harare and signed by Bishop Sebastian Bakare stating that his wife is seriously ill with renal failure requiring dialysis and requesting funding. This e-mail does not emanate from the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) and Mrs Bakare is well. Bishop Bakare and his wife have not travelled to Uganda recently and certainly are not seeking for funds for medical attention. If you receive an e-mail of this nature kindly disregard it and we trust that no funds have been deposited in any account.


  1. Firstly Rev. Nick Henderson was prevented from taking up his rightful position as Bishop of Lake Malawi and now it would appear that Bishop Christopher Boyle has been forced to resign from the Diocese of Northern Malawi. It is about time the truth of what exactly is going on in that province is revealed to the rest of the world. When is someone going to have the courage to stand up to the likes of Nolbert Kunonga?

  2. It looks like Bishop Boyle has had enough. The problem is that in Africa (thanks to Zimbabwe) the political tensions are moving away from the North American influenced 'sex' issues to a more 'anti colonial' stance.

    Out of the frying pan into the fire.

    How long will it be before Kunonga is rehabilitated and forgiven?

  3. Penwatch is right. An anti colonial stance will also make it harder for the African Church to relate to Canterbury, which epitomises the old British Empire.