Focus on real issues, says Anglican bound for Zimbabwe ‘hot seat’

Published May 13, 2009

Canterbury, EnglandThe Rev. Chad Nicholas Gandiya believes he might acquire a “crown of thorns” when he is confirmed as the new Bishop of Harare by the Church of the Province of Central Africa next month. Yet he believes that if all Anglicans pray for him he can succeed.As he prepared to leave for his new position, Canon Gandiya made an impassioned plea for Anglicans to concentrate on “the real issues” facing Africa, which he said is dogged by hunger, ignorance, corruption, famine and the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS and malaria. “We have many more problems than the well-publicised problem of rights for gay men and lesbians,” Ganiday said in an interview with Ecumenical News International.Gandiya, the Africa regional desk officer for the Britain-based mission agency USPG: Anglicans in Mission, was on May 2 elected to serve as the next bishop of the embattled Harare diocese in Zimbabwe.He will succeed Bishop Sebastian Bakare, who has served as the diocese’s interim bishop since December 2007 when Bishop Nolbert Kunonga was deposed after the church said he had illegally separated from the Province of Central Africa by installing himself as archbishop of Zimbabwe. Kunonga said he believed the church that deposed him was too cosy with homosexuals.Kunonga has been an avid supporter of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party. Anglicans say Kunonga has supported the intimidation and persecution of Anglicans in Zimbabwe for opposing his leadership and that of President Robert Mugabe.”Because of our colossal social and economic problems, the Archbishop of Canterbury and York [the two best known and most senior leaders of the Church of England] are helping us to establish new feeding programmes throughout Zimbabwe. “We Anglicans want to be able to help hundreds of thousands of people at the start of the next rainy season [October and November] by providing seeds and by training young farmers. My message is going to be: ‘Let’s all concentrate on the real issues facing Africa’.”The Church of the Province of Central Africa is made up of Anglicans from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Its dean is Bishop Albert Chamba from Zambia.”I am under no illusions about the problem that the Anglican Church faces,” Gandiya told ENI. “I was told I will be inheriting a crown of thorns but I believe I will succeed if I have the prayers and help of the entire Anglican Communion.”Canon Gandiya said that he has the full support of his wife Faith and their three children Tatuwanashe, 26, Tariro, 23 and Tonderai, 21.He was born in Manicaland, eastern Zimbabwe, in 1953, studied for the priesthood at St John’s College, Nottingham, and took higher degrees at the University of Zimbabwe and Michigan State University in the United States.

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