Williams Comments on pro-Mugabe Bishop Trial Scandal

The Guardian‘s new interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury includes the following detail:

He described the position in central Africa, where Archbishop Bernard Malango has just absolved without trial Bishop Norbert Kunonga of Harare, accused by his parishioners of incitement to murder, as “dismal and deeply problematic”.

Bishop Kunonga – widely known in Zimbabwe as “His Disgrace” – was featured on this blog last month. In the run-up to 2002 election Kunonga had gushed that Robert Mugabe was “more merciful than God himself”, in return for which he was awarded two farms, and a militia with which to send the rightful owners on their way. But that was just one of many complaints against the notorious toady; the Daily Telegraph laid out some of the others in August:

The first of 11 charges against Bishop Kunonga is that he sought the assistance of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation and militant “war veterans” to “incite or seek to incite” the murder of 10 prominent Anglicans, including priests and church wardens.

…Other charges faced by Bishop Kunonga are that he tore up the infrastructure of the Harare diocese by sacking 19 priests or church officials, dismissed heads of most of the church’s institutions and banned the choir from singing in Harare’s Anglican cathedral.

He is also accused of banning a predecessor, Bishop Peter Hatendi, from participating in services; of abusing the use of church property including vehicles and funds; falsifying minutes of church meetings; and of having removed and “disposed of memorabilia, plaques, tablets from the cathedral”, some of historical interest.

…He also preached “racial hatred” according to a group of parishioners, mostly black, who have gathered in Harare to give evidence against him.

The charges were increased to 38 in number, but the trial collapsed in December when Archbishop Malango dismissed prosecutor Jeremy Lewis. The Church Times gave some context:

Bishop Kunonga is reported to have returned from a recent visit to Archbishop Malango in Malawi with the boast that the Archbishop was “a good friend” of his and would never say anything against him. He told the congregation at a confirmation that he was now free to do what he liked in Harare and to “baptise children in the Zanu-PF way”.

Archbishop Malango’s action is being linked with Bishop Kunonga’s licensing on 16 December of the acting Vice-President of Zimbabwe, Joseph Msika, as a deacon, “after realising the sterling work he had done for both the Church and the country”. Mr Msika is on record as saying: “Whites are not human beings.”

Despite there being 40 non-white complainants against Kunonga, diocesan secretary Morris Gwedegwe claimed that the prosecution had been an attempt by white racists “to lynch” the bishop.

Back in 2004 Archbishop Malango cut ties between the Anglican Church in Central Africa and the Diocese of New Hampshire over the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop. Apparently the Archbishop can tolerate a gangster as a bishop, but not a gay man.

One Response

  1. […] as I’ve blogged before, is a major beneficiary of Mugabe – in return for describing the dictator as “more merciful […]

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