Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Archbishop of Canterbury meets Mugabe

The head of the worldwide Anglican church on Monday met with Zimbabwe’s longtime ruler and criticised abuse and intimidation against his church’s worshippers in the southern African country.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is paying a two-day visit to Zimbabwe. After the meeting, he said that President Robert Mugabe told him he was not familiar with the scale of the intimidation mentioned.

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been divided since a breakaway bishop Nolbert Kunonga was excommunicated in 2007 for inciting violence in sermons supporting Mugabe’s party. But Kunonga says he left the Anglican church because of its position on same sex marriages.

Leaders of the global Anglican Communion have condemned gay relationships as a violation of Scripture. However, the Anglican Communion is loosely organised without one authoritative leader such as a pope, so some individual provinces have decided on their own that they should move toward accepting same-gender unions.

Mugabe is a bitter critic of homosexuality.

Williams said he presented the president with a “dossier” on the abuse and intimidation mainstream Anglicans are going through in the southern African nation.

Excommunicated leader Kunonga’s followers have seized the country’s main cathedral and bank accounts. His followers also have taken control of an orphanage, and evicted nuns and priests who do not recognise Kunonga.

The schism in the church has left mainstream Anglicans without places of worship and have experienced intimidation and alleged threats of violence.

On Sunday, Williams told more than 15 000 mainstream Anglican worshippers gathered for mass at a city stadium that Anglican worshippers are constantly “tortured by uncertainty and risk of attack” and have endured “mindless and Godless assaults,” in Zimbabwe.

He said he met Mugabe with the hope that he will “use his powers to guarantee the security” of mainstream Anglicans in Zimbabwe.

“He [Mugabe] expressed concern and said he will speak with Kunonga,” Williams said.” Anglicans must be allowed to carry out their mission in peace.”

Kunonga led demonstrations against Williams’ visit on Sunday, saying it is a “crusade for gays”.

Williams said Kunonga’s accusations are “fictitious” and a “distracting tactic to take people’s attention from the real problem.”

“The Anglican church doesn’t allow homosexuality, but places like the US and Canada have a more relaxed atmosphere. But we regard homosexuals as human beings deserving of love,” Williams said.

The Archbishop is now meeting with Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. He is then scheduled to leave for Zambia tomorrow. — Sapa-AP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Gillian Gotora
Gillian Gotora works from Dallas, TX. journalist Gillian Gotora has over 52 followers on Twitter.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Phoenix activist takes on Durban’s politically connected in November polls

Independent candidates look set to play a greater role in the metro municipality after 1 November

Libyan town clings to memory of Gaddafi, 10 years on

Rebels killed Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte on 20 October 2011, months into the Nato-backed rebellion that ended his four-decade rule

Fishing subsidies in the W. Cape: ‘Illegal fishing is our...

Fishers claim they are forced into illegal trawling because subsidies only benefit big vessels
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×