THE PLANS of the Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Nolbert Kunonga, to form a new Anglican province (News, 14 September) became clearer this week after an interview in a Zimbabwe government newspaper.
In the mean time, the Provincial secretary of Central Africa, the Revd Eston Dickson Pembamoyo, has issued a denial that the province has broken up as Bishop Kunonga claimed last week.
Interviewed in The Herald in the middle of last week, Bishop Kunonga said he had engineered the break-up of the Province of Central Africa (which contains the Churches in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and Botswana) because it was “very weak”.
Second, he said: “People who belong to homosexual movements from England, America, and other European countries have poured in a great deal of money and diluted the stand of the province.”
The Bishop accused all of his opponents of homosexuality, either “thinking or intending or compromising with homosexuality”. The Archbishop of Canterbury was guilty, he said, “because we understand and we know that he has been interfering with the practices, processes, and the running of the province”. Bishop Kunonga also named the Rt Revd Michael Doe, general secretary of USPG, and the Revd Chad Gandiya, the charity’s Africa desk officer, saying they had been “given money which they spread among the diocese to influence the decision to win in their position”.
He stated his plans to form a new province with the dioceses of Central Zimbabwe and Manicaland, which he said support him. He was “surprised” at the lack of support from the other two Zimbabwean dioceses, Matabeleland and Masvingo: “They are fellow Zimbabweans, fellow Anglicans, we know they are not homosexuals. So we invite them to walk this walk together.” At the same time, he spoke of certain Zimbabwean bishops as “dabbling in homosexuality”.
Bishop Kunonga is one of a handful of bishops who are barred from the Lambeth Conference. A string of charges, ranging from the brutal eviction of villagers to incitement to murder, has never been properly investigated.
Almost everything he says in The Herald interview was denied by Mr Pembamoyo on Monday. The provincial synod, at which Bishop Kunonga had accused the province of being weak on homosexuality, had reiterated its support for the Lambeth Conference resolution 1.10, he said.
Besides that, he stated: “Contrary to The Herald’s report, the fact is the Church of the Province of Central Africa remains strongly intact.”
No standing order existed under which the province became null and void on the withdrawal of one diocese, as Bishop Kunonga had claimed. Were it intended to dissolve the province, “the due processes and procedures” would have to be approved by the provincial synod, and then confirmed by synods in each of the dioceses.
As for homosexuality: “There is no known homosexual lobby in the province, and any insinuation of there being such a lobby is highly regrettable and libellous.”
Bishop Doe had attended the provincial synod. Speaking on Wednesday, he dismissed Bishop Kunonga’s accusations. All the recipients of USPG grants and scholarships were nominated by the bishop: “The Bishop’s signature is always at the bottom of every grant application.”