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New priest is to be bishop in Zimbabwe

19 August 2009

by Pat Ashworth

A NEWLY ORDAINED priest has been elected the next Bishop of Manicaland, in Zimbabwe.

An elective assembly of 22 bishops, priests, and laypeople from the Manicaland diocese voted by a two-thirds majority that their next bishop should be the Revd Dr Julius Makoni. Dr Makoni, a Cambridge-educated banker who worked for Morgan Grenfell and the World Bank before setting up his own bank, had to leave Zimbabwe in 2004 when President Mugabe threatened to charge him with illegal money transfers. The charges were recently dropped.

Dr Makoni is the son of a cleric. While in exile, he studied for the ministry at Westcott House, in Cam­bridge, and was priested in June at Southwark Cathedral.

His wife Pauline, who was an outspoken opponent of the regime, received death threats in Zimbabwe. She said this week that her husband’s election was news to her — as it was to her father, the Rt Revd Peter Hatendi, who came out of retirement to be the interim Bishop of Manica­land.

Dr Makoni’s elevation from newly ordained priest to bishop in a matter of days is not unique in Central Africa. The same was true of the Rt Revd Joseph Mabula, a former Bishop of Northern Zambia.

A court of confirmation will have to be held, as it will for the recent appointments in Upper Shire and Lake Malawi, but no objections have been received. The way will then be clear for the election of an Arch-bishop of Central Africa by the end of the year.

No way back in
Reports that the ex­communicated Bishops of Harare and Manicaland, Nolbert Kunonga and Elson Jakazi, might be re-incorporated into Anglican struc­tures in some kind of power-sharing arrangement have been dismissed as “totally absurd”.

Nolbert Kunonga is known to have approached the retiring Bishop of Harare, Dr Sebastian Bakare, before the consecration of Chad Gandiya as his successor, to claim legitimacy and to get back in the Anglican fold. Elson Jakazi also tried to claim legitimacy in the face of elections for Bishop of Manicaland.

Kunonga “was told in no uncer-tain terms that he was excommuni-cated, and not one of us,” the Rt Revd Trevor Mwamba, Bishop of Botswana, said on Tuesday.

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