Anglicans seek injunction against bishop

Lilongwe, Malawi - Some members of the Anglican Diocese of Lake Malawi have dragged newly-enthroned Bishop Leonard Mwenda to court stopping him from conducting business until matters surrounding his election to replace Late Bishop Peter Nyanja are resolved.

The members are demanding that Mwenda should not start working pending a meeting between Archbishop Bernard Malango and a faction opting for Reverend Paul Henderson of Britain.

Lawyer representing the group, Allan Chinula, confirmed that the matter was in court, saying he had filed documents to the High Court in Lilongwe yesterday morning.

“I can’t say what the outcome will be, but indeed we have presented all the arguments and [are] waiting to hear from the court,” said Chinula.

He said his clients feel betrayed that the enthronement of Mwenda went ahead in Nkhotakota last Sunday despite the many reservations conveyed to Archbishop Malango’s office over the procedure that was taken to reject Henderson.

“The main complaint is that Archbishop Malango is alleged to have denied the Christians a chance to be heard, and insist that Mwenda’s enthronement took them by surprise,” said Chinula.

Chancellor of the Anglican Council of Malawi (ACM) James Kalaile also said there were some unresolved issues that made Mwenda’s enthronement sensitive.

Kalaile, who is a Supreme Court Judge and serves as legal advisor to the Anglican bishops in Malawi, said ACM’s position is that efforts must be pursued to calm down the temperature.

“I have interacted with some of the complainants in Lilongwe and conveyed their sentiments to Archbishop Malango,” said Kalaile.

According to Kalaile, Malango advised Mwenda to wait, but other bishops in the Anglican Province of Central Africa stuck to their ruling on Mwenda’s endorsement

“The archbishop says it is not true that he had refused to meet Christians in Lilongwe to discuss reasons for Henderson’s rejection,” said Kalaile.

A parishioner, who sort anonymity, said reasons for Henderson’s rejection were made up to pave way for Mwenda.

“The bishops who are not Malawians can’t force a man on us,” said the parishioner, adding that Malango should come and face his flock from all the archdeaconaries in the Diocese of Lake Malawi.

Mwenda’s enthronement at All Saints Church in Nkhotakota on Sunday was conducted under police guard after an angry group shouted insults and threw stones at the officiating clergy.

Two people were arrested and charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace.