Cletus Mushanawani in Mutare
ANGLICAN Diocese of Manicaland Bishop Julius Makoni will be leaving office on March 1 following his resignation, it emerged yesterday.
Although the former banker turned bishop was not readily available for comment as he was said to be out of office while his given mobile number was not reachable, the Zambia-based Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Archbishop Albert Chama, confirmed the development in a telephone interview from his base yesterday.
âYes, indeed Bishop Makoni resigned as the bishop of the Diocese of Manicaland. He never gave us reasons for his resignation. His letter of resignation did not give us details. We will start the process of getting a new bishop for the diocese. Anyway, thank you very much for enquiry,â said Archbishop Chama.
When approached for comment, the dean of the province, Bishop Cleopas Lunga, could neither confirm nor deny the developments in the church and insisted on knowing the source of the information.
âWho gave you that information? That person should give you further details of Bishop Makoniâs resignation. We are dealing with people and church issues here and we do not want to cause unnecessary pain. If someone gave you the information, you should go back to that person. I have no further comment, thank you for phoning,â he said.
However, investigations revealed that Bishop Makoni wrote his resignation letter on November 19, 2014 and the Episcopal Synod of the Anglican Church met in Harare on January 29 and unanimously accepted his (Bishop Makoni)âs resignation.
He was given up to March 1 to wind up his operations.
Archbishop Chama has since written to Bishop Makoni in a letter dated January 29, 2015, which this publication has in possession and it reads: âWe are in receipt of your letter of 19th November 2015 (sic). The Episcopal Synod met in Harare, Zimbabwe on 29 January 2015 and considered your letter of resignation. The Episcopal Bench unanimously accepted your resignation with regret.
âHowever, the Episcopal Synod decided that your last working day shall be the 1st March 2015 and the Province as per our Canons shall proceed with the process of electing your successor soon after. We wish you Godâs blessings in all your future undertakings.â
Bishop Makoni who was the founding chief executive officer of NMB Bank was elected the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Manicaland on July 24, 2009 before being consecrated on November 22, 2009.
He took over from Bishop Elson Jakazi, whom the church had dethroned saying he had voluntarily stepped down from the throne following a fall-out on the recognition of gay rights in the church.
Bishop Jakazi had a protracted battle with the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa which spilled into the court of law. After losing the battle to remain at the helm of the church, Bishop Jakazi and other disgruntled members of the church went to form a new church Evangelical Anglican Church International.
Bishop Makoni took over the leadership of the church.
Following Bishop Makoniâs resignation, the Vicar-General, Father Nyazika will hold forth until a new bishop is elected into office.