‘A voice for the voiceless in the Anglican Central African Province’
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION are pleased to publish the response below from Deputy Chancellor Bob Stumbles of the Central African Province, which comes by way of some clarification regarding the current situation and the renegade, self-styled and trouble-making, ‘Archbishop of Zimbabwe’, Nolbert Kunonga
Well whose is it? The Anglican Cathedral of St Mary & All Saints, Harare, Zimbabwe
Readers will recall our previous release voicing concerns that Kunonga is somehow in negotiation with some of the bishops of the Province of Central Africa in order to regain a foothold in the official Diocese of Harare. Unfortunately, however surreal and unwelcome the prospect of a re-incorporation of Kunonga and Elson Jakazi of Manicaland may seem, there are still legitimate doubts as follows:
- Kunonga has been indisputably very close to some of the bishops notably former Archbishop Bernard Malango. No public statement about his continuing relationship with Kunonga has ever been forthcoming from Malango who is still thought to be influential.
- There is a precedent in the state machinery for a ‘power-sharing’ arrangement between politically opposed leaders.
- Legal judgement regarding the Diocese of Harare and the Kunonga faction has ordered that churches be ‘shared’ producing de facto two parallel Anglican churches.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION says: The letter below from Deputy Chancellor Bib Stumbles is welcome but there needs to be a further definitive and binding declaration from the acting Dean of the Province, Bishop Albert Chama (himself close to Malango) that no deals or arrangements will be struck with Kunonga at any time in the future – in the absence of this and given recent traumatic history doubts will inevitably persist. The problem (and solution) lies with the bishops in their relationships with Kunonga and the perceived autocratic tendencies of their episcopal bench rather than with the people or diocesan officials.
An election for Archbishop of the Province looms in the near future and of the of the three realistically potential candidates, Albert Chama of Northern Zambia, James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi and Trevor Mwamba of Botswana, only Mwamba has spoken following our last report. In the U.K. published Church Times Friday 21st August he is quoted as responding to the claims that a ‘power-sharing’ deal might be in the offing that they are “totally absurd” and “[Kunonga] was told in no uncertain terms that he was excommunicated and not one of us.”
This latter refers to a paragraph in the same report that ‘Nolbert Kunonga is known to have approached retiring Bishop Dr. Sebastian Bakare, before the consecration of Chad Gandiya as his successor, to claim legitimacy and to get back into the Anglican fold. Elson Jakazi also tried to claim legitimacy.”
This tangled web inevitably invites confusion about who is speaking authoritatively regarding the long-term future of this much troubled Province of Central Africa.
From the Deputy Chancellor of the Province of Central Africa and Chancellor of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA)
KUNONGA PLAYING GAMES?
Dr Nolbert Kunonga has placed a half-page advertisement in the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail, August 16-22, 2009. In it he states, quite incorrectly, that he is the incumbent bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare, and he and the persons named as members of his Board of Trustees, have the right to the possession and control of the movable and immovable property of the Diocese. He refers to the two Court Orders of Justice Hlatshwayo which appear in the advertisement.
It is not proposed to deal with the two Zimbabwe Court Orders except to record that an appeal against them was filed by the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) and awaits a hearing. Also, an appeal was lodged against the decision of the honourable judge not to recuse himself on the grounds of perceived partiality before hearing the application which led to the orders in the advertisement.
The position set out below reflects that of the CPCA as well as the ecclesiastical law governing Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Church of the Province of Central Africa is a multinational body whose laws are transnationally binding upon its members. Internationally, it is recognized and accepted that these laws are applicable to the Diocese of Harare which forms an integral and undivided part of the CPCA.
1. August 2007. Dr Kunonga writes a long letter severely castigating certain aspects of the CPCA and indicates he will no longer have anything to do with this body. He states he is formally withdrawing from the CPCA with immediate effect and that he is withdrawing the Diocese of Harare as well. Infact, the Diocese of Harare gave him no such mandate and, in any event, the ecclesiastical laws do not allow the withdrawal of the Diocese.
(Dr Kunonga in June or July 2009 eventually admitted he had been wrong in trying to withdraw the Diocese from the CPCA.)
2. The CPCA notes Dr Kunonga's concern and the disapproval expressed in his letter and his decision to remove himself from the CPCA and that he has broken his sacred canonical oath. The CPCA accepts his removal from the organisation and notes he has ceased, by his own deliberate action, to be a bishop and an Anglican.
3. The CPCA and Anglican Communion worldwide acknowledges thyself-banishment of Dr Kunonga as a Bishop and Anglican. His departure brings a close to the matter. Now a new bishop is required to replace him.
4. However, Dr Kunonga defies letters to him to hand over movable and immovable property held by the Diocese on behalf of the CPCA. Instead, he now becomes an unlawful occupier or trespasser on the property and uses Diocesan funds. He and a few of his sympathizers even resort directly or indirectly to intimidation and violence in their attempt to frustrate and prevent thousands of parishioners loyal to the CPCA from using its churches and other buildings in the Diocese. In this he is assisted by the Zimbabwe Police on occasions.
5. As there is now no Anglican Bishop in the Diocese, the CPCA appoints Bishop Sebastian Bakare to be Vicar-General and Acting Bishop of the Diocese from November 2007. Interim office bearers are duly appointed to office to replace those few persons who have defected to Dr Kunonga and are, through allegiance to him, deemed no longer to be Anglicans nor office bearers in the Diocese.
6. To emphasise publicly his severance from the CPCA, Dr Kunonga, on the 15th March 2008, forms his own ecclesiastical (?) organisation and proclaims himself to be an Archbishop. The establishment of his new group is publicized prominently in the Zimbabwe Herald. Beyond all doubt, Dr Kunonga signals he has cut all ties with, and disassociates himself from, the CPCA and the Diocese of Harare and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
7. On the 12th May 2008, to stress the situation, the CPCA lets it be known that the status of Dr Kunonga is that of a person excommunicated from the CPCA and the Anglican Communion worldwide.
8. In August 2009, the Diocesan Synod is convened with Bishop Bakare presiding. All parishes in the Diocese of Harare and the various other institutions and organisations are represented. Elections are held including those for Standing Committee and the Board of Trustees. This Board does not have amongst its members Dr Kunonga nor any of the Trustees referred to by Dr Kunonga in his court applications. The reason for this is that neither he nor the persons he refers to are, in fact, members of the Board of Trustees of the Diocese of Harare and do not represent the Diocese. If they represent any organisation, it must be as members of the Board of Trustees of Kunonga’s self-proclaimed church or group formed on the 15th March 2008.
9. Bishop Bakare carries out his duties from November 2007 to July 2009 as acting Bishop in charge of the Diocese of Harare. Dr Kunonga is not in lawful control contrary to the inference in his advertisement in the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail.
10. Indeed, in February 2009, the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, voices its astonishment at the games Dr Kunonga seems to be playing. The Council states as representatives of the Anglican Communion we re-iterate that we do not recognise the status of Bishop Norbert (sic) Kunonga and Bishop Elson Jakazi. (Excommunicated Bishop of the Diocese of Manicaland) as bishops within the Anglican Communion and call for the full restoration of Anglican property within Zimbabwe to the Church of the Province of Central Africa. This reflects the true, lawful position, contrary to what is stated in Dr Kunonga's advertisement.
11. On the 26th July 2009, to international acclamation Dr Chad Nicholas Gandiya is consecrated and ordained within the CPCA as an Anglican bishop and enthroned in the cathedral of St Mary and All Saints as bishop of the Diocese of Harare, witnessed by numerous bishops and well over 10,000 others present at the National Sports Stadium and perhaps as many as 2,000 at the Cathedral.
12. It is Bishop Gandiya, elected in accordance with the CPCA and other ecclesiastical laws who is the incumbent bishop of the Diocese of Harare; not Dr Kunonga, the self-proclaimed archbishop of a non-Anglican organisation.
R. A. STUMBLES
Deputy Chancellor of the Anglican
Church of the Province of Central Africa
20th August 2009.