(HARARE)President Robert Mugabe may refuse to meet Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as it emerged after more thanthree weeks waiting, Mugabe is still to respond to the former’s request for audience, amid fierce fighting between ousted Bishop Kunonga and the current head of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe, Chad Gandiya.
Without providing more details, a source in the President’s office on Friday indicated that it was still not clear President Robert would accept Williams’ meeting request.
His statement was weighed in by presidential spokesman George Charamba who said that “if ever the two are going to meet”, Mugabe and the State in Zimbabwe “have nothing to do with the goings-on in the local chapter of the Anglican Church.”
Williams, whose successor-hopeful John Santamu(pictured-right) vowed never to wear a dog colar until Mugabe leaves office, is expected to land at Harare today, Sunday.
The latest issues of contention between Mugabe and the Anglican church are on the matter of ousted bishop Nolbert Kunonga who Dr Williams expelled and is a staunch supporter of Mr Mugabe; but the courts recently ruled the ousted bishop should retain control of church buildings and other assets. Tear gas has been used to disturb churchgoers loyal to Dr Williams and some have been beaten as they have taken part in services.
Charamba however said that in the event of a meeting, Mugabe would ask :
“regarding his church’s silence on the illegal sanctions and the position on homosexuality.”
Meanwhile, the legitimate Anglican Church bishop Chad Gandiya described the ransacking ex-communicated Nolbert Kunonga who is aligned to president Mugabe, as a man of confusion ahead of the visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Addressing journalists at a press conference on during the late hours of Friday, Bishop Gandiya said the visit by Dr Rowan Williams was a pastoral visit meant to demonstrate his solidarity with the Anglican Communion in Zimbabwe.
“The visit by the Archibishop of Canterbury to Zimbabwe Dr Rowan Williams on 9 October 2011 is a pastoral visit designed to demonstrate solidarity with the Anglican communion in the country, in face of ongoing persecution at the hands of an excommunicated man who has nothing else to do than focus his attention on destroying what generations of Anglicans built using their own resources,” said Gandiya in his speech.
He said non-Anglicans including the excommunicated Kunonga had no business in the affairs of the church.
“Non-Anglicans, especially the excommunicated man of confusion should not concern themselves with how we conduct our business,” said Gandiya.
Gandiya and Kunonga factions of the Anglican have been at loggerheads for quite some time with the later having been excommunicated for his thuggery behavior which has seen the police and other law enforcement agents dancing to the tune of Zanu (PF) to persecute Gandiya faction members.
Kunonga has used the courts and police to grab the assets of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) under Bishop Chad Gandiya and Dr Williams’ visit has been seen as an attempt to keep the CPCA stronger despite their continued harassment by Kunonga and his supporters. There was however no talk of meeting President Mugabe.
Kunonga broke away from the mainstream Anglican church saying homosexual elements had taken over the church, a stance that has been maintained by his master President Robert Mugabe. However Gandiya refuted at claims by Kunonga saying though the church was tolerant to a diverse of views and accepted the different backgrounds of its members but would not tolerate homosexuality in the church.
“In Zimbabwe we are clear that WE DO NOT TOLERATE HOMOSEXUALITY in church,” he said.
Homosexuality is a morally unacceptable practice in Zimbabwe though the existence of homosexuals is a fact. President Mugabe has used each and every platform to denounce the practice.
A Warning to Dr Williams
In another twist to the Williams- Mugabe matter, it was reported that Williams was warned that meeting Mugabe would boost Mugabe’s political advantage
The British Telegraph reported that Senior church leaders had warned that the 87-year-old leader could use photographs of himself admonishing Dr Rowan Williams to his political advantage.
The Rt Rev Sebastian Bakare, the former Bishop of Manicaland, urged Dr Williams to reconsider asking for time with the dictator.