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 Under siege

Anglicans, Bishop Malasa battle rages on

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By Jarson Malowa

There appears to be no end in sight to the wrangle between disgruntled Anglican Christians in the Diocese of Upper Shire and their beleaguered Bishop Brighton Vita Malasa whom they have been agitating for his ouster.

The Christians on Friday started a three day vigil at the diocesan headquarters at Malosa in Zomba, just metres away from Malasa’s house.

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They are demanding that Malasa should step down from his position for alleged abuse of office.

Earlier this year, the Church’s Provincial secretary, William Mchombo and Archbishop Albert Chama of the Church’s Central African Province in Zambia, came to Malawi on separate occasions in a bid to try and solve the wrangle but this proved futile.

And now, the Christians are demanding the Synod to hold its diocesan meeting, in the hope of resolving the matter once and for all.

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However, Malasa says the meeting would require funds amounting to K7 million in order to take place, a figure the disgruntled Christians are disputing.

They have since vowed to see out their three day vigil at Malasa’s residence in an attempt to force him to call for the Synod diocesan meeting, which they claim is their only hope to remove him.

Spokesperson for the disgruntled group, John Adyiredye Nsanyira Awadi, said they have lost trust in Malasa.

Trouble started in 2009 when Bishop Malasa was ushered into office, amid disagreements on who was supposed to lead Christians in the diocese.

“A person who is supposed to lead any diocese in the Anglican Church is supposed to get two thirds majority of the votes. Nobody, during the election, got two thirds majority among the three people who were competing,” Awadi said.

Awadi alleges that Malasa was denied outright confirmation.

“Malasa was just confirmed as Bishop without proper procedure. People had argued that Malasa was young to manage the diocese but others were of the view that they will assist him spiritually,” Awadi alleged.

However, Awadi says Malasa’s failure was noticed three days after his inauguration.

“Late Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika graced the ceremony. The diocese asked for a car which the late president offered us. To our surprise three days after the car came, Malasa registered it as a personal vehicle,” Awadi lamented.

Father Elliot Litereko of All Saints Anglican Church in Monkey Bay, Mangochi says at it stands, the congregation is financially broke.

“People stopped paying quota long ago because they do not have trust in this diocese. We are worried because we are spending a lot of time trying to resolve these wrangles instead of preaching the word of God,” Litereko said.

Grace Chaika, a Christian at St Phillips Likhubula Parish says she is not happy with how Malasa has been making decisions in the diocese.

“The Church’s Central African Province wanted a forensic audit which Malasa has not yet done up to now, six months later. May God help us,” Chaika, who is taking part in the three day vigils, said.

And when contacted by The Sunday Times to hear his views on the vigils, Malasa said he was not in a position to comment.

The Anglican Church in the country is made up of four diocesan secretariats, namely; Diocese of Upper Shire (Eastern Region) Diocese of Southern Malawi (Southern Region) Diocese of Lake Malawi (Central Region) and Diocese of Northern Malawi (Northern Region).

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