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Tanzania Church rocked by complaints over election: The Church of England Newspaper, March 17, 2013 p 7. March 24, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper.
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Three complaints have been lodged with the Anglican Church of Tanzania (KAT) by members of the church’s general synod alleging misconduct and fraud in the conduct of last month’s election of an archbishop.

Lay and clergy delegates from 8 coastal dioceses are expected to join the complaints alleging misconduct. Both sides accused the other of using foreign money to influence the outcome of the election however no evidence has thus far been presented.

On 3 March 2013 Dr Dickson Chilongani, Provincial Secretary of the KAT, released a statement announcing the election of the Rt. Rev. Jacob Erasto Chimeledya “as the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Tanzania.”

He stated “the bishops welcomed the election result, some describing Chimeledya as a ‘humble’ [servant leader] who will strengthen unity within the Anglican Church of Tanzania and enhance its mission.”

The statement said the “election was carried out by a special Electoral Synod which consisted of bishops, pastors and lay people numbering 129 in total. After the election all the 25 bishops present (except two who are studying in South Africa) expressed their support to bishop Chimeledya’s election by signing a legal document to endorse the results. Bishop elect Jacob Chimeledya will succeed Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa after his installation on 19th May 2013.”

However supporters of the sitting archbishop, Valentino Mokiwa of Dar es Salaam, have objected to the vote. A 27 Feb 2013 complaint seen by the Church of England Newspaper has alleged eight constitutional irregularities in the voting, including the casting of four more ballots than electors present. While the House of Bishops may have endorsed the election, critics charge, the Lay and Clergy Houses of Synod have not.

They have also claimed that $50,000 of American money was used to buy votes of the Wogogo – the tribal group – for Bishop Chimeledya. Supporters of the ousted Archbishop say the cash was used by supporters of the Episcopal Church to split the KAT off from Gafcon movement.

Supporters of Bishop Chimeledya have rejected these charges, saying Archbishop Mokiwa’s interpretation of the canons is incorrect and tendentious, while it was he who had sought to influence the election with cash.  Archbishop Mokiwa one was seeking to use his post as a Gafcon primate to distort the dispute by convincing supporters in the West his defeat was engineered by foreigners rather than local political considerations.

Copies of the complaints have appeared in the Swahili Tanzanian press, and a rebuttal is expected to be released shortly by Bishop Chimeledya.

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