Since 2007, the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has suffered a division between the internationally recognized Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) (now led by Bishop Chad Gandiya) and breakaway Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of Harare. This crisis has deepened and led to property seizures and violence against clergy. Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, during the 2011 official visit to Zimbabwe presented President Robert Mugabe with a dossier about the mistreatment of the Anglicans belonging to the CPCA.
Speaking to RelZim in June 2012, Precious Shumba, spokesperson of Bishop Gandiya, said, that Mugabe hasn’t yet acted on the dossier. Meanwhile, only in May 2012 Bishop Kunonga continued with his stance. The breakaway leader of the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe criticized the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe (from the opposition party MDC), complained about the visit of the controversial Nigerian prophet TB Joshua (invited by the PM) and expressed his criticism about the draft of the new constitution (not in line with Mr Mugabe’s policy).
The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Visit to Zimbabwe: 9-10 October, 2011
Archbishop Rowan Williams (official site, biography) conducted an eight-day tour that Lambeth Palace says is to celebrate the life and ministry of the Anglican Church in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. His schedule in Zimbabwe included a Eucharistic celebration at the City Sports Stadium attended by 15,000 (Sunday, 9 October), a meeting with President Mugabe, and visits to Anglican social projects (Monday, 10 October). At the meeting with the President, he submitted a ten-page Dossier compiled by the local church about the persecution of the Church of the Province of Central Africa. On 4 November, RelZim received an email from Rev. Tendai Mutongomanya of the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe entitled A Response to Dossier of “Alleged Abuses” Presented to the President of Zimbabwe by Rowan Williams and CPCA Bishops.
News of the Visit:
Archbishop Williams has made a significant number of official statements on Zimbabwe, which range from the concerns expressed in March 2007 about the deteriorating economic life of Zimbabwe and issues of human rights and peaceful non-partisan protest, the May 2008 expression of their grave concern about the increasing violence of what appears to be a sustained campaign against the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe that he made jointly with the Archbishop of Cape Town after they spoke to Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations; to the 2009 condemnation of the Christmas-time resurgence of police intimidation of Anglicans in Zimbabwe.
In February 2010, Dr.Williams launched an exhibition of photographs to showcase the work of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, at Southwark Cathedral. The exhibition marked one year since the launch of the Archbishops’ Appeal for Zimbabwe, in partnership with USPG: Anglicans in World Mission, which had surpassed all expectations in raising almost half a million pounds.
RelZim.org Video Library: February 11th 2008: London: 3rd and final part of Dr.Williams’ address to the Church of England’s ruling body, the General Synod, where he paid tribute to the new Bishop of Harare, Bishop Sebastian Bakare, and the struggles of the Anglican Church, in the face of internal and external difficulty during the country’s ongoing crisis; a crisis he describes as ‘a regime … fallen victim to its own incompetence, corruption and self-delusion.’
See also previous appeals for Zimbabwe.
Recent Stories on the Anglican Crisis
Older stories on Anglicans in Zimbabwe can often be found on Titus Presler’s blog, including this July overview of the Kunonga affair. The US State Dept survey on religious freedom in 2010 includes a number of specific episodes for that period.