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Zimbabwe bishop quits diocese for IMF job

13 February 2015


"Disgruntled laity": Dr Julius Makoni 

"Disgruntled laity": Dr Julius Makoni 

THE Bishop of Manicaland, Dr Julius Makoni, has resigned, amid complaints about his treatment of priests, a payout of $80,000, and his conduct in his personal life.

The Bishop of Central Zimbabwe, the Rt Revd Ishmael Mukuwanda, confirmed last week that Dr Makoni had handed in his resignation, effective from 1 March. The Manica Post reported last Friday that he had accepted a position at the IMF.

Dr Makoni, the other Bishops of Zimbabwe, and the Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Revd Albert Chama, were all contacted for comment, but none responded.

A letter to Archbishop Chama dated 9 February and signed by 41 "disgruntled diocese of Manicaland laity" complains that the Standing Committee of the diocese has "clandestinely" paid Dr Makoni $80,000, out of the $427,000 he allegedly demanded, said to be owed to him by the diocese.

"We . . . write to pass a vote of no confidence in our Diocesan Standing Committee and all its committees," the letter begins. "It has come to our ears that the outgoing bishop of our diocese has demanded a lot of money and the standing committee and its sub-committees have failed to stop the looting." It refers to "chaos reigning in Manicaland" and calls for an "emergency external audit" to be conducted.

It is understood that Archbishop Chama visited Zimbabwe on Sunday to hear the allegations.

In June last year, Archbishop Chama ordered Dr Makoni to reinstate the licences of two priests who complained about his behaviour (News, 26 September 2014). Dr Makoni was told that his action had been "clearly inappropriate". The priests had raised 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".

They reported that clergy had not received their stipend for three months, and, in a second letter, complained of "victimisation" by the Bishop, including "a barrage of . . . threatening calls".

In 1996 Dr Makoni fathered a child by another woman during his marriage. His ex-wife, Pauline Makoni, sought a divorce in London in 2010.  The divorce was finalised in December 2014. It is understood that Dr Makoni is challenging a ruling that awarded a house in Harare to Mrs Makoni, and that he continues to reside there.

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