Lay revolt in Malawi diocese

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Brighton Malasa.jpg

Lay leaders in the Diocese of Upper Shire have launched a campaign to oust their bishop, accusing him of misconduct and abuse of office. The Nyasa Times reported last month that representatives from 37 of the 41 parishes in the Malawi diocese met at St George’s in Zomba on 14 December 2018 and endorsed a call to remove the Rt. Rev. Brighton Vita Masala from office.

Local newspapers reported the charges leveled against the bishop — none of which have so far been confirmed by any tribunal or court — are financial, moral and political. The bishop has been accused of adultery and having children out of wedlock with women other than his wife. He has been accused of appointing cronies to senior positions in diocesan schools and hospitals, who then seek fees for preferential treatment in admissions and services. The lay leaders also accuse the bishop of diverting funds donated from overseas groups into his own pocket, while also involving himself in partisan party politics.

The leaders pledged to withhold their monthly parish quota payments to the diocese until the bishop is relieved from office, and to forbid him from visiting their churches.

On behalf of the Malawi Anglican council, the bishop of Northern Malawi, the Rt. Rev. Fanuel Magangani, on 15 December 2018 is reported to have written to Bishop Malasa offering the services of the BIshop of Southern Malawi, the Rt. Rev. Alinafe Kalemba, as a mediator between the bishop and the disaffected parishes.

Bishop Malasa told the Nyasa Times that he had no comment to make on the allegations. However, in his new year’s address the bishop touched obliquely on the controversy. He thanked those who had worked hard to build up the diocese,  but “woe to those who worked tirelessly to destroy the people of God in their church.”