Chad Gandiya, the coming Bishop of Harare
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports that a 57-year-old Zimbabwean, the Rev’d Canon Dr Chad Gandiya, has been elected to succeed caretaker Bishop Sebastian Bakare as bishop of the Anglican Communion’s most troubled diocese.
Chad Gandiya is currently the Central Africa desk officer for the U.K. based mission agency U.S.P.G. This historic and respected agency has many sponsorships and links in the Anglican Province of Central Africa.
Like most Central African Provincial elections Gandiya’s has not been without controversy. Local resistance in the diocese, defamatory fake e-mails, a mysteriously delayed election and the ever-looming presence of dissident ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga have all contributed to make the run-up difficult.
Chad Gandiya is a prominent figure in the Anglican Communion. He is one of those chosen to be on the Pastoral Council established by the Anglican Primates as a follow up to the Windsor Report which deals with the current disputes in the Anglican Communion over sexuality. Well-respected throughout the Communion he will bring his many pastoral skills to bear on his new diocese. It is unlikely that he will have any problems with his Court of Confirmation although he has previously had a difficult relationship with former Archbishop Bernard Malango who has accused him of being too close to the American Episcopal Church and of being ‘liberal’.
It is hoped that his election will finally begin to draw a line under the Malango era whose difficult legacy lingers to this day, not least in Malango’s former protégé the formidable, Mugabe-backed tyrant Nolbert Kunonga.
In September 2007, Gandiya wrote to the U.K. based Church Times to defend U.S.P.G. against Kunonga’s accusations that it had been using money to bribe bishops to support a pro-homosexual lobby. Unfortunately, in the current febrile atmosphere of the Anglican Communion, practically anybody and everybody can be accused falsely of homosexual lobbying by way of character assassination. In this respect Kunonga will no doubt continue to make life as difficult as possible for the new bishop.
Nevertheless, it is to be hoped that this era is now coming to an end with Gandiya’s election. There are some signs that the Zimbabwe governmental power-sharing arrangement is improving the situation. Gandiya has a reputation as a respected moderating influence who understands the needs for a balance between the Western world and the African, he knows the local situation and has the commitment required.
We join our prayers for the bishop-elect and the diocese of Harare.