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Arrest warrant issued for the Archbishop of Tanzania: The Church of England Newspaper, June 15, 2011 June 16, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper.
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Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

A Tanzanian court has issued an arrest warrant for Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT).

On June 13 the High Court in Arusha issued a bench warrant for Dr. Mokiwa for contempt of court, after prosecutors claimed the archbishop ignored a court order blocking the consecration of the Bishop of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Sources in Tanzania report that as of June 14 the archbishop had not yet been served by police with the warrant.

On Monday, the High Court in Arusha issued an arrest warrant for the ACT head for allegedly defying a court order not to consecrate Stanley Hotay as the new Bishop for Mount Kilimanjaro. Justice Kakusulo Sambo issued the warrant after the prosecution claimed the archbishop acted in contempt of court by consecrating Bishop Hotay on Sunday, while the court sorted out the claims of lay leaders opposed to the election.

On April 15, the Mount Kilimanjaro synod elected the Rev. Stanley Hotay as the third bishop of the diocese that covers the Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara regions.  The election of a new bishop ended a 10-year split within the diocese between the former bishop Simon Makundi and his clergy that mirrored a wider fight within the province over the morality of condom use.  The election of the new bishop, church leaders hoped, would end the dispute.

However, a petition was filed in April with the High Court in Arusha, asking the court to set aside the election.  The petitioners charged the new bishop had allegedly misstated his age.  The court issued an injunction blocking the installation of a new Anglican bishop pending adjudication.

The consecration of Bishop Hotay, however, did not violate the court order, the General Secretary of the ACT told The Citizen newspaper of Dar es Salaam.  Dr Dickson Chilongani said the consecration service, which was attended by local police leaders in Arusha and Bishop Tim Stevens of Leicester, was to episcopal office, but did not confer jurisdiction upon the new bishop.

“What we did was to consecrate him as a new bishop… as of now he does not belong to any diocese,” said Dr Chilongani.

“Our liturgy on those occasions is clear that you first consecrate someone and then install him… we only consecrated him.”

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