Thinking Anglicans

Zimbabwe: the case of Nolbert Kunonga

In the last issue of 2005, Pat Ashworth of the Church Times reported on this: Malango ‘closes case: Kunonga left to do as he likes’.

Some other recent news reports:
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
4 Jan Anglican parishioners puzzled over Kunonga trial decisions
5 Jan Church has no money for Kunonga retrial

Sokwanele
5 Jan Shameful silence on Nolbert Kunonga, Anglican Bishop of Harare
and this response from a reader on the Sokwanele blog, on 8 January.

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Rob Hall
Rob Hall
15 years ago

So let me get this straight: Bishop Kunonga can support and materially benefit from Robert Mugabe, who countries such as Australia and New Zealand have called to be brought by the UN Security Couuncil before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. The Anglican Communion does nothing. Bishop Kunonga is credibly charged wih numerous serious crimes, including incitement to murder, and his provincial superior Archbishop Malango can balatantly obstruct a fair hearing (in a similar way to his actions over the Lake Malawi election). The Anglican Communion does nothing. Let me invite readers to do a thought experiment. Go… Read more »

Marshall Scott
15 years ago

I am conscious of the cost of power in Zimbabwe for clergy. Robert Mugabe was at one time a bishop in the Methodist body there. He came to leadership with the apparent commitment to justice and good government that was based in his Christian faith. Once he discovered power, however, it appears he was corrupted to an extent equivalent to the power he found in his hands. WIth that power, and with a claim of justice for the apartheid past (truly a great sin in and of itself) he seems to have led Zimbabwe in a way that has done… Read more »

Patrick Mauney
Patrick Mauney
15 years ago

I believe Mugabe was and remains a Roman Catholic layman. Perhaps Marshall Scott is confusing him with the late Canaan Banana, who was a Methodist minister and president of Zimbabwe after independence (Mugabe was then prime minister). Banana was later charged with sodomy and other crimes and imprisoned, many believe on trumped up charges, and defrocked by the Methodist Church.

John Henry
John Henry
15 years ago

What exempts African bishops from being held accountable?

They had better clean up the mess in Africa first before ‘admonishing’ the Archbishop of Canterbury and accusing him of paying too little attention to Holy Scripture.

Oh, I forgot the Global South primates are such wonderful and worthy Christians that they may refuse to take the sacrament from the Archbishop of Canterbury as long as the ‘unworthy’ PB Griswold and his Canadian counterpart are kneeling at the same communion rail.

We need more bishops of the stature of ++Desmond Tutu and fewer of the ++Akinola, Orombi and Kunonga variety.

Murray Lamond
Murray Lamond
15 years ago

While I have no sympathy for modernist theologies, I agree that the silence of conservative African primates in the face of corruption and state terrorism is a glaring moral failure.

The Anglican church in Zimbabwe, with a few notable exceptions, has either supported Mugabe’s monstrous regime or remained tacit in the face of tremedous abuses. By way of contrast, the Roman bishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, has repeatedly condemned violence and government theft–at great personal risk.

Archbishop Malango does himself very little credit in brushing issues of serious crime under the carpet while overturning episcopal elections on ideological grounds elsewhere.

Prior Aelred
15 years ago

The silence of the current ABC about the situation in Zimbabwe is a stark contrast to the outspokenness of his predecessor, Michael Ramsey, about the injustice in Rhodesia. Post-colonial guilt? Perhaps, but “four legs good, two legs bad” is an inadequate basis for moral as well as political judgments.

Andrew Carey
Andrew Carey
15 years ago

To be fair to ++Rowan he hasn’t been able to speak out before now while a judicial process has been underway, and we don’t know anything about his actions or the way he has tried to influence things behind-the-scenes. I guess he’ll be seeking a fuller explanation of why the judicial process has come to an end so unsatisfactorily, before taking further public or private action. This isn’t a liberal vs conservative thing though and has nothing to do with our wider Anglican crisis. It may well be however, that if it emerges that Archbishop Malango has acted weakly or… Read more »

RMF
RMF
15 years ago

African clergy have more than enough work to do on their own continent to keep them busy for their entire lives.

I say again, where are the great churchmen in this batch? Who among them will take up the legacy of ++Tutu?

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
15 years ago

Andrew, You’re quite right that this should have nothing to do with the liberal vs. conservative thing. But that undercurrent could be behind the global silence. Unfortunately, a lot of liberals (those who supported divestment in South Africa and isolation of Rhodesia) are loath to criticize a black African leader, because they don’t want to be accused of being colonialists who can’t refrain from imposing their views and ideas on Africans. In other words, liberal guilt. And conservatives are often unwilling to criticize someone who they are relying on for support on other issues. I would hope that this is… Read more »

Simeon
15 years ago

One wonders whether the insistent vitriol from the likes of ++Akinola, ++Orombi, etc… about us awful apostates in N. America doesn’t serve as a convenient distraction from the numerous examples of such abuses as the above in their own backyards. But I suppose it wouldn’t be charitable of me to suggest this…

Rob Hall
Rob Hall
15 years ago

Andrew Carey’s remarks, given his past willingness to advocate sanctions against ECUSA, invite a further thought experiment: if the Bishop of Harare’s name were Gene Robinson, instead of Norbert Kunonga, would Andrew have been so willing to rush to Rowan Willams’ and Bernard Malango’s defence? The evidence is clear, as the Church Times and others have exhaustively documented, and there is no “if it emerges” about it: Malango has openly acted to deny justice to Anglicans in Zimbabwe, who, at great personal risk, have stood up against Kunonga. Here’s Malango’s December 2004 comment on those same Anglicans “chickening out” (his… Read more »

Kurt
Kurt
15 years ago

“The time for our Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury to stay silent and avoid taking decisive action has past. No reasonable person can now believe that those running the Province of Central Africa have any interest in applying Christ’s teachings to their ‘stewardship’ of the church in that region.”–Rob Hall

Right on, Rob!!!

Göran Koch-Swahne
15 years ago

I wonder if AB Malango didn’t just do to the Global South what Katrina did to the credibility of the unitarian Bush-administration.

Marshall Scott
15 years ago

Thank you, Patrick Mauney, for the correction. I apologize for not checking my history more closely, as I clearly have the two confused.

That said, since Mr. Mugabe was raised within the Christian tradition, issues of justice in his activities remain. Issues of justice also remain regarding Bishop Kunonga, and those issues need to be addressed.

Andrew Carey
Andrew Carey
15 years ago

For Rob Hall’s information until now there was clear hope that the Province would deal with +Konunga (who is also blocked from entering the EU as well as the US). The Church Times has done a great job of reporting on +Konunga’s crimes and they have proved him, to my satisfaction, guilty as charged. I’m not aware that they’ve reported extensively on ++Malango with regard to the Konunga situation. I’m aghast that he escaped trial and I’m with everyone who’s demanding an explanation of why. I’m not aware that ++Rowan has behaved improperly in any way and continue to hope… Read more »

David Walker
David Walker
15 years ago

On this occasion I agree with Andrew Carey. It isn’t a liberal/conservative thing. And there are those from all sides of the spectrum who are appalled at what has gone on in Zimbabwe. For understandable, (but still unacceptable) reasons there is a huge reluctance in Africa to admit the sort of errors in Zimbabwe that might in any way undermine the overrarching story about transition from apartheid to freedom. It’s a card that Mugabe plays continually and to date successfully. And public external criticism often backfires Also, as Andrew says, Rowan’s hands have been additionaly tied by there being a… Read more »

Rob Hall
Rob Hall
15 years ago

Andrew Carey, this “clear hope that the Province would deal with +Konunga” appears to have been an evidence free hope, given that the Province’s Archbishop has made his hostility to opponents of Kunonga clear for a long time. Remember that Kunonga was elected at a secret court of confirmation held in Zambia by Malango in January 2001. The Church Times reported that the electoral process, involving a consistory-court ruling, was described as “a disgrace” and “wrong and immoral” by those who witnessed it. That’s not a good basis for avoiding action in the hope that a Malango-controlled judical process will… Read more »

Andrew Carey
Andrew Carey
15 years ago

“… the seriousness of the situation demands an answer from the entire Anglican Communion in deeds not words.” I can’t disagree with this. With no Primates Meetings, ACC meetings in the near future, some risk-taking leadership is going to have to come from key people like ++Rowan, ++Njongonkulu, CAPA and the Secretary-General of the ACC. They will be well aware that lives may be at risk if they take the wrong course of action. It doesn’t however do to slam them before they’ve even had a chance to do anything – in the wake of the failure of this judicial… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
15 years ago

Robert Mugabe defeated Bishop Abel Muzorewa in elections held after the Lancaster House Conference. Muzorewa having been the first Prime Minister of the new Zimbabwe. They stood head to head in the Presidential elections too. There are connecting issues here; the internal lives of many Provinces are a cause for concern. While there is much publicity over the deposition of “orthodox” clerics in parts of the world, many in the “Global South” have suffered similarly just for suggesting things are not good in their own back yard. A seminarian who wrote an article calling his Province to look at the… Read more »

Enoch Opuka
Enoch Opuka
13 years ago

Bishop Kunonga is a shame to good practising Anglicans. I am an African and I dont condone his actions. He should be made to leave and his presence is hindering the spread of the word of God. I have attended his mass and he doesnt conduct himself in decorum as befits his title. He behaves like a thug.

Phineas T Dohwe
Phineas T Dohwe
13 years ago

I have always felt that the case between Kunonga and Harare Diocese must never be handled as to who is entiltle to the use of the Church Property because Kunonga’s access and use of the property comes from his appointment as the Anglican Bishop and the moment he resigned his access to church property also ceased. He was licenced by the Church to be the Bishop and once the licence is revoked he is nolonger bishop and has no entitlement to church property. To even entertain the case in contain is legally wrong. No Driver whose Licence is cancelled is… Read more »

John Thomson
John Thomson
13 years ago

Wow, I can’t say I understand all the accusations that confront Bishop Kunonga. What astounds me is that this is the same Norbert Kunonga that graced the premises of Reba Place Church in Evanston. His kids were raised in the church alongside my kids. Reba Place Church just sent a significant contribution to Zimbabwe.

Bogdan Wegrzynek
10 years ago

On this occasion I agree with Andrew Carey. It isn’t a liberal/conservative thing. And there are those from all sides of the spectrum who are appalled at what has gone on in Zimbabwe.

For understandable, (but still unacceptable) reasons there is a huge reluctance in Africa to admit the sort of errors in Zimbabwe that might in any way undermine the overrarching story about transition from apartheid to freedom. It’s a card that Mugabe plays continually and to date successfully. And public external criticism often backfires
Bogdan Wegrzynek
Polish American Youth
President

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