21/09/2010

Another questionable Court of Confirmation - renewed claims of rape by an episcopal candidate – Diocese of Northern Malawi

Bishop Albert Chama, acting Dean of the Central African Province





ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports controversy and unrest in the Northern Malawi diocese. Provincial Bishops at a Court of Confirmation, chaired by acting Dean Bishop Albert Chama, have managed to declare that the latest Bishop–elect, Father Fanwell Magangani, is sound of faith and worthy of consecration.


This comes despite strong accusations made against him by Hilda Chirwa who alleged that six years ago Magangani raped her and then provided her with money for an abortion.

In a Court of Confirmation held in St Peter’s Church, Lilongwe,
Diocese of Lake Malawi (held outside the Diocese of Northern Malawi to avoid any protestors) Magangani was cleared by the Provincial Bishops of rape charges.

The Malawi Daily Times 9th September reports that Hilda Chirwa faced ‘a barrage of questions hurled at her accusing her of hiding information’. The prospect and potential embarrassment of a second election nullified by rape allegations against the candidate appears to have galvanised the Provincial Bishops into determination to ensure that Magangani was confirmed.

The Malawi Daily Times in the same report filed that ‘at the Court of Confirmation, presided over by acting Dean Bishop Albert Chama, Ms Chirwa faced eight intimidating primates’. “Fr Magangani raped me, I screamed but there was no help”, she said. “Later I missed my periods and I told him. When I did he told me to go for an abortion”, testified Chirwa. This happened, she told the Court, when she was working for St Agnes Guild and at St Peter’s Cathedral in Likoma where Magangani had served as a priest. “When I arrived they arranged for a room for me to sleep in the priest’s house. At night he came and raped me.” She also said that Magangani gave her 5000 Kwacha to procure an abortion in May 2004.

Angry people in Northern Malawi in Nkata Bay are reported to have sealed off the offices of St George’s Parish where Fr Hannock Utongawakang’oma is a supporter of Fanwell Magangani. During Sunday service (12th September) worshippers at the parish barred the reading of the confirmation.

According to St George’s parish lay leader, Vincent Matengeni, as reported by
Zodiak Online, who attended Magangani’s confirmation, ‘procedures to reach the decision have been flouted adding that double standards have been applied to the whole process’. ‘The previously elected Bishop Father Leslie Mtekateka was rejected for similar reasons of alleged immorality, he wondered why him and not Mangangani’?

Overall it is true to say that of the three recent elections of Brighton Malasa in Upper Shire Diocese, Francis Kaulanda in Lake Malawi and now Fanwell Magangani in Northern Malawi, none of them have had the full confidence of their priests and people. In each case strong objections of a serious nature have been submitted and subsequently overruled by Courts of Confirmation, without explanation.

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION comments: The fact that two successive candidates for Bishop of Northern Malawi have been accused of rape is particularly disturbing. Apart from announcing that they have confirmed Fanwell Magangani the Provincial Bishops have again failed to clarify how or why they have reached their conclusions and why his case has had a different outcome to that of Leslie Mtekateka.

It is wrong that a new Bishop be consecrated under such a cloud of allegations. It is essential for the good name and credibility of the Anglican Church in Central Africa that the Provincial Bishops explain publically how and why they consider that they are able to do so with integrity. It is insufficient simply to pronounce that they wish to accept Manangani.

Acting Dean Albert Chama intends to become Archbishop of the Province after Fr Magangani’s consecration. He should now issue a satisfactory public explanation concerning these latest events, lest his own credibility and candidacy be at stake.

……….END……..

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2 comments:

  1. Anonymous22/9/10

    The Anglican in Malawi needs to put its house in order. What is it that every bishops Election in every diocese is a big deal. There is need to assess the situation further so that we can sort out these problems once and for all.

    Are the bishops position looked as a calling or they are looked at as a money making machinery. If so there is need to establish a body which will be a money making machinery for the Anglican separated from the core business of Spiritual work. Am Anglican by birth and feels things are getting out of hand. As a church we need spiritual guidance. It is not fun openning a Sunday paper, all you see there is one issue or another from Anglican Church.

    Anglican church has alot of potential in Malawi and can do wonders if only it can have proper vision. Anglican in Malawi has alot of professionals who are developing different institutions why can't we use these people to glorified the holy name of Jesus Christ.

    May these words inspire those who are in authority to do something about our noble church.

    God Help us

    Jean Msosa
    Anglican, Lilongwe Malawi

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  2. Anonymous29/9/10

    Additional to my comment. An idea came to me that if as a church in Malawi we separated powers between the Bishops and the Administration (Machinery of the church). If Bishops concentrated on running the spirtitual issues of the church and Administration be left to the church Laity ( appointed trustee with terms of reference not life serving members representing Laity with different proffessions). This board will be responsible for generating funds and managing church administration especially providing good working conditions for Priest so that we have uniform salary accross the board but may be rural allowances for those who live in bad conditions in the rural. As we stand the church is not transparent enough to laity as to know whats the property for the church and how much it generates. In what conditions are these propeties. I for one just like the church do not have this information. This would help to encourage Laity to support the church if only it was transparent enough.

    God help us to look at these issue with a spiritual mind that would build his church for the glory of his name. Amen Jean Msosa

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