By Cuthbert Nzou
Harare – The Anglican Church has excommunicated a second bishop in Zimbabwe, Elson Jakazi of Manicaland diocese, after he threatened to withdraw the diocese from the church’s central African synod claiming that homosexuality was rampant in the congregation. The regional synod, which is officially known as the Church of the Province of Central (CPCA), is the church’s supreme authority in the region and a fortnight excommunicated former Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, who had also tried to withdraw his diocese. The dean of the CPCA, Albert Chama, in a letter to the Diocese of Manicaland dated May 16 and delivered on Monday said Jakazi was no longer the bishop of the diocese. “His licence as clergyman in the Anglican Communion is automatically revoked and he is no longer authorised or permitted to have any authority or control whatsoever over the diocese, nor to represent it in anyway, nor to use the funds and assets of the diocese,” read Chama’s letter. Chama said Jakazi had committed schism.
The CPCA dean has since appointed retired Bishop Peter Hatendi as the vicar general and bishop of Manicaland for a year. Jakazi yesterday declined to comment on his excommunication from the church. Kunonga and Jakazi last year wrote to the CPCA threatening to withdraw the dioceses of Manicaland and Harare claiming that the church had failed to address the issue of homosexuality in the church. Kunonga went on to form his own Anglican Province of Zimbabwe. Kunonga – a staunch supporter of President Robert Mugabe who tried to use the pulpit to defend the Zimbabwean leader’s controversial policies – was excommunicated together with several priests and other church leaders who backed his revolt against the mother church. Chama said the church had imposed on Kunonga “and all those who support him the sentence of Greater Excommunication, thereby separating them from the church of the Province of Central Africa and the Anglican Communion.” The CPCA appointed retired Bishop Sebastian Bakare as caretaker head of the Harare diocese, a move Kunonga has fiercely tried to resist.