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Anglican province backs Bishop Malasa

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By Yohane Symon:

FLASHBACK— One of the concerned members presents a petition to Malasa

The Anglican Church Province responsible for Central Africa has backed embattled bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Shire, Brighton Malasa.

The province, in a communique, says its constitution does not have provisions that provide for a sitting bishop to be removed by passing a vote of no confidence or adopting impeachment procedures as some church members are agitating for.

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Some laity of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire have been pushing for the removal of Malasa.

The communique has been released after Arch-Bishop of Central Africa Province— covering Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe— Reverend Albert Chama says, apart from death, an Anglican bishop cannot be removed once the laity loses confidence in him.

Chama says, among other grounds, a bishop can vacate his office voluntarily before attaining the age of 65 years. The Canons also allow a bishop to resign after attaining 65 years of age.

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Third, the communique indicates that a bishop can vacate his office if he is satisfied that he is no longer able to discharge the duties of his office.

“The petitioners also wanted the Diocesan Bishop suspended in the meantime, but the Archbishop was constrained to do this because, according to our Canons, suspension is a sentence that the Archbishop may mete out against a Bishop only after due process of the Church Court and the Bishop has been found guilty of the alleged offence,” reads the communique in part.

However, Chama has directed that the church should hire external auditors to investigate financial mismanagement allegations and the archbishop will decide from there.

Through the communique, Chama has also cleared Malasa of any wrong doing in the way the diocese hired the Diocesan Secretary.

“In conclusion, the Archbishop instructed the Diocesan Standing Committee to carry out the financial audit by engaging external auditors who will avail the findings to the Archbishop via the Standing Committee. Only then will appropriate action be taken in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Province,” Chama says.

In the meantime, the archbishop has appealed for calm while the issues are being processed.

Chama has also advised the clergy to use proper channels when registering their concerns as opposed to working with the laity in taking the law into their own hands.

Meanwhile, a representative of the concerned Christians, Chipo Kanjo, has said they are yet to respond to the communique.

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