Bishops of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar arrested after scuffle at consecration in Western Tanganyika
The Bishops of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar have been arrested by police in Western Tanganyika after an angry exchange erupted at a meeting of bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania. The Rt. Rev. Valentino Mokiwa of Dar es Salaam and the Rt. Rev. Michael Hafidh were taken to a police station in the Kibondo district and held for a number of hours, before being released with a caution and orders to leave town.
The arrests are part of the on-going political and ethnic rivalries within the ACT. Last month the primate of Tanzania, the Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya deposed Bishop Mokiwa after the later declined to resign in the wake of a provincial investigation into corruption in his diocese. Bishop Mokiwa refused to accept the archbishop’s decision and filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the decision. A hearing is scheduled in civil court on 28 Feb 2017.
However, the House of Bishops appear to have swung their support away from their primate. At their last meeting the bishops authorized Archbishop Chimeledya to discipline Bishop Mokiwa. He was asked to have the Dar es Salaam bishop “make right” the problems identified by the investigation, one source told Anglican Ink. However, the archbishop went beyond his mandate and removed Bishop Mokiwa from office — prompting complaints from the bishops that this step exceeded his authority.
At Saturday’s consecration, understood to be for the Diocese of Kibondo — though this could not be confirmed as of our going to press — Bishop Mokiwa, accompanied by Bishop Hafidh, confronted Archbishop Chimeledya. A shouting match ensued leading to the arrest of the two Anglo-Catholic bishops.
In an interview published in the 2 Feb 2017 edition of the Swahili-language newspaper Mwananchi, Bishop Mokiwa dismissed the allegations of misconduct lodged against him by the primate, saying they were part of a plot to derail his bid for election as archbishop in 2018.
In an election marred by accusations of vote buying, Jacob Chimeledya, an evangelical, defeated the incumbent Valentino Mokiwa, an Anglo-Catholic, for election as archbishop. Archbishop Chimeledya is too old to stand for election for a second term in 2018. However, Bishop Mokiwa has charged that the allegations of corruption are a ruse to ensure he is disqualified from election in 2018.
However at the January 2016 primates gathering in Canterbury, Archbishop Chimeledya switched sides — and joined the GAFCON movement. He was subsequently invited to give the sermon at the installation of the new archbishop of Kenya and has been an active participant in their deliberations. However, he has so far declined to end the lower level relations with the Episcopal Church.