Mediation efforts by the Archbishop of Central Africa in the dispute between the bishop and members of the Diocese of Upper Shire have not resolved the dispute. Photos published on Facebook show protestors had disabled the bishop’s car, letting the air out its tires following a meeting in Zomba.
In December leaders from 37 of the 41 parishes in the Malawi diocese met at St George’s in Zomba issuing a call for the bishop to step. Local newspapers reported the charges leveled against the bishop — none of which have so far been confirmed by any tribunal or court — were 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.
The primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa last week appointed the Bishop of Eastern Zambia, the Rt. Rev. William Mchombo, to mediate the dispute and a meeting had been scheduled for 6 Feb 2019. However, the meeting was postponed and Archbishop Albert Chama met with protestors on 26 Feb 2019.
Tuesday’s meeting proved inconclusive, and irate members of the diocese blocked the archbishop’s car and deflated his tires. Local media report two men were taken into custody for malicious mischief. The case continues.