THE Bishop of Manicaland, in Zimbabwe, Dr Julius Makoni, has
ignored an order by the Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Revd
Albert Chama, to reinstate the licences of two priests who
complained about his behaviour, one of the priests reported this
In May, Dr Makoni revoked the licences of the Revd Gilbert
Sambona of St Peter's Church, Mandeya, and previously of St
Bartholomew's Church, Resape, and Canon Philip Gwashero of St
Two weeks before this, the two priests had sent a letter of
complaint about him to Archbishop Chama, also signed by three
members of the laity. The letter raises concerns about the Bishop's
divorcing his wife and the fact that he was a "non-resident Bishop"
who "spends most of his time away".
It also says that clergy had not received their stipend for
three months. "If asked about it, the Bishop quickly gets angry and
shouts back at those who have asked", the letter states. Donations
received from abroad were "not declared in a transparent manner".
The letter also complains that a woman priest was presiding at the
eucharist without permission.
A week after sending the first letter, the two priests wrote to
the Archbishop again, complaining of "victimisation" by the Bishop,
including "a barrage of various threatening calls". They had been
summoned to a meeting, they said, and asked to confirm that they
were the authors of the first letter.
In letters revoking the licences of the two priests, Bishop
Makoni charges them with making "false allegations" about him,
which brought "shame and scandal on the Church which is trying to
heal from recent past hurt".
In June, the Archbishop instructed the Provincial Registrar, Dr
Fanuel Sumaili, to write to Bishop Makoni informing him that the
complaint from the two priests was permitted in the Canons, and
should not have resulted in sanctions.
"I regret that your decision to revoke the licenses of the two
priests under the circumstances has the effect of undermining the
efficacy of the said Canon and depriving the members of the rights
as bestowed by the Canons," he writes. The Bishop's action was
He continues: "The Archbishop has directed me to formally inform
you that you reinstate the two priests while their complaints are
investigated before constituting the Church Court. He would like to
have this done within 14 days from the date herein and a report to
that effect sent to his office."
On Tuesday, Canon Gwashero said that neither he nor Mr Sambona
had yet been reinstated. He said that he had been without a stipend
since May: "That is the main problem. My wife is a teacher. With
the little she gets, that is how we are managing to survive." He
said that he hoped to meet the Archbishop during his visit to
Zimbabwe on 4 October.
On Tuesday, Dr Makoni said that the matter had ended "a long
time ago". The Archbishop had been "misinformed", and, after a
disciplinary procedure within the diocese, "everything was
On Wednesday, Archbishop Chama said that he was "handling the
matter" and wished to make no further comment.
Last year, Anglicans in the Diocese of Manicaland celebrated
their return to their churches and cathedrals, after being barred
from places of worship for five years (News, 3
Dr Makoni was elected Bishop of Manicaland in 2009, a year after
being made deacon in Southwark Cathedral, and two months after
being ordained priest.