Anglican Information is a group close to the Rev. Nicholas Henderson, who was elected bishop of the Diocese of Lake Malawi but prevented from taking office by former primate Bernard Malango, hero to the Anglican right and protector of the now deposed Mugabe-ite bishop Nolbert Kunonga. The group noticed yesterday’s article on The Lead that began with the new of Rosemary Makhulu’s funeral, and has offered its own analysis of development in the Province of Central Africa.
And what of the future? The Provincial bishops are now covertly divided between a Malango/Mugabe faction who say all the right things from the American conservative dissident point of view and a pro-Canterbury moderate grouping epitomised by the sacked Dean (dismissed by Malango) Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana.
Of the vacant sees mentioned by Jim Naughton (notwithstanding Harare and Manicaland in Zimbabwe) Lake Malawi already has an elected (by overwhelming majority) bishop in the person of the Rev’d Nicholas Henderson. Henderson’s consecration has been delayed largely at the behest of forceful lobbying by Malango and now excommunicated Nolbert Kunonga when they were in power. This faction and their supporters remain frightened of the result of the election because the successful candidate is ‘unapproved’ by conservative and schismatic Americans and is pro-Canterbury. The people of Lake Malawi (who are also loyal to Canterbury) are equally determined to have the bishop of their choice.
Malango’s latest Provincial successor in the person of acting Dean Albert Chama of Northern Zambia is unfortunately only a cipher for Malango. Malango is still a power behind the scenes and currently interfering in the elections for a new bishop in Upper Shire diocese where again the people (pro-Canterbury) are resisting an imposed candidate.
Thus the Provincial bishops are split between former Malango and closet Mugabe sympathisers/appeasers and the group revolving around Trevor Mwamba with his proven track record of sensible action and dialogue and who, unlike the others, commands the respect if the people.
A third faction in this mêlée is detectable in the person of James Tengatenga of South Malawi as a bishop who has a distinctly mixed history. On the one hand he is indisputably racist in a way that would long ago have had a white bishop censured and removed from office. He was also a principal player in contriving the election of Malango to Upper Shire diocese when Malango was under a cloud of accusations of embezzlement in Zambia. On the other hand, he is still on the wrong side of the fence from Malango’s point of view and that of Malango’s conservative American paymasters. Tengatenga spends much time in white society particularly with the American Episcopal Church and he is a member of the Anglican Communion’s Consultative Council.
So between the four factions, Malango, Mwamba, Tengatenga and the schismatic Americans, once again Africans are forced to fight on in a confusing stalemate proxy battle for the soul of the far off American Episcopal Church. If the Malango/Mugabe faction eventually wins it will not only spell disaster for the Province but for the Communion as well. The prospect of a Central African Province ruled by dissident Americans essentially uncritical of the Mugabe regime (Nolbert Kunonga is now claiming support from GAFCON) is frankly horrific.
This is a far cry from the days of former Archbishop Walter Makhulu and his beloved wife Rosemary.