Civil courts grant injunction for Diocese of Lake Malawi

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At last some common sense emerges in the Diocese of Lake Malawi:

Unfortunately, it is not as a result of wise episcopal leadership, but as a result of a Court Injunction granted earlier today. The Injunction stops the forced elections for a Bishop of Lake Malawi Diocese, hastily called by acting Dean of the Province of Central Africa, Bishop Albert Chama and scheduled to take place in far-off Malosa in the Diocese of Upper Shire on 16th February.

It is ironic that it is a civil court that has insisted that the elections be halted and that all parties come together to sort out their differences before proceeding any further. ANGLICAN-INFORMATION has reported the grave concerns in the Diocese of Lake Malawi regarding Bishop Chama’s attempts to circumvent synodical processes and to sneak in a preferred new candidate, Henry M’baya (who has been lobbying vigorously, to the annoyance of the clergy) as bishop. This forced election has now rightly been stopped before enormous and permanent damage is done.

Sensibly, the people of Lake Malawi have, as a last resort, appealed to the civil courts and been granted an Injunction. This means that Bishop Chama will now have to enter into meaningful dialogue and not act as he did, for example, at the last diocesan Standing Committee when he ordered members not to speak.

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION respectfully says that there is a lesson here for Bishop Chama in the way in which traditional African chiefs conduct business on behalf of the people. Tradition determines that their role is to allow everybody to speak and give their views. Only then do they speak last, summing up the majority decision and thereafter enabling it. A good example of this process at work was undertaken by the then Dean of the Province, Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana who succeeded last year in getting all parties to agree to a synodical process and a subsequent referral to an independent Provincial Court.

Upper Shire Diocese

Meanwhile it is thought that the also hastily arranged elections, scheduled for the same 16th February, for a new Bishop of Upper Shire (former Archbishop Malango’s see) will still take place. However, things are not going according to the intended plan of selection for a preferred candidate, as no less than three frontrunners have now emerged who are respectively, an English priest, an American Episcopalian and a local priest.

Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe

Sunday, 3rd February saw a tremendous and well-organised ‘enthronement’ of Bishop Sebastian Bakare held in the City Sports Centre. Thousands joyfully celebrated this mass affirmation of the diocese as part of the Central African Province, as opposed to those few who have followed dissident Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who has declared independence.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to enthrone Bishop Bakare upon the Cathedral ‘cathedra’ as Nolbert Kunonga had camped overnight in the building with a gang of thugs to prevent access. Two brave souls who tried to enter were roughed up. This is all despite the fact that the High Court had ruled that the swearing-in of Bishop Sebastian Bakare, should go ahead and Bakare’s followers should be allowed to worship in the Cathedral.

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION observes that support of the authentic diocese by the people is most encouraging. Nevertheless, until legal possession of the diocese is obtained and the accounts, keys, property and vehicles are back with the Province the problem has not been resolved. Kunonga remains a dangerous man – prayers please for Bishop Bakare.

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