20 December 2012

Zambia: Anglican Bishop Disowned

Parishioners of the Anglican Cathedral of Holy Nativity in Ndola on Tuesday locked out Diocese of Central Zambia Bishop, Derek Kamukwamba, whom they have rejected.

The bishop was locked out by church wardens when he attempted to get into his office.

They handed him a copy of a letter written to the Archbishop of the Province of Central Africa calling for his removal.

Bishop Kamukwamba confirmed receiving the letter from the parishioners but refused to comment on the matter.

He referred all queries to Archbishop Albert Chama to whom the letter was addressed.

According to the letter made available to the Times, the church has accused Bishop Kamukwamba of nepotism in the manner he ordained his nephew Stubbs Kamukwamba as a deacon.

They argued that the ordination was conducted against the advice of the congregation and council members who boycotted the ceremony.

Bishop Kamukwamba is also accused of offering scholarships intended for the general clergy of the diocese and other members to close members of his family.

In what seemed as designed circumstances, the church said the bishop influenced the appointment of his wife as head of the Hands of Compassion Community School in Chipulukusu in Ndola.

They further accused him of deliberately suspending the Diocesan Evangelical Youth Leadership, thereby depriving them of a youth exchange programme trip abroad.

The youth leaders were allegedly replaced with the bishop's nephew, Deacon Stubbs and other relatives.

"It is also evident that the bishop is vindictive to people who differ with him on matters of principle.

"He could go to an extent of demoting or sacking church officials from their positions just because they point a wrong which he would have committed or stood for," they said.

They accused his nephew of conducting himself contrary to Christian values after he was ordained and that he was fond of drinking beer in public bars.

The congregants are unhappy that despite Deacon Stubbs having such a track record, the bishop has continued to allow him to conduct church services at the pulpit.

They accused Bishop Kamukwamba of even planning to ordain another of his relatives only identified as Pontaliga as a priest despite resistance from the general membership.

"What we are telling you is that we have lost faith in Bishop Kamukwamba because he has sided and not rebuked the strayed clergy.

"He has shown us that he is there to protect members of his family even though they may be in the wrong and has abandoned the flock of the church, which is us," the letter reads.

The congregants charged that they do not want Bishop Kamukwamba to continue performing the function of Bishop of Central Diocese anymore as he has lost their respect and that the Cathedral had decided to do away with Deacon Stubbs' services.

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