Fraud charges levelled in Tanzania archbishop’s election: The Church of England Newspaper, March 3, 2013, p 7. March 23, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Jacobo Chimeledya, Valentino Mokiwa
Allegations of misconduct have been leveled following last week’s election of the Rt. Rev. Jacobo Chimeledya as Archbishop of Tanzania. Supporters of Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa have claimed American money influenced the outcome of the election and allege the vote was marred by fraud.
However, supporters of the archbishop-elect have denied the charges of misconduct, claiming that it was Archbishop Mokiwa who used foreign money to secure support from the electors. Archbishop Mokiwa did not respond to request for comments while the archbishop-elect could not be reached as of our going to press.
Meeting in Dar es Salaam on 21 February 2013 a special synod was convened to elect an archbishop and primate. Under the church’s constitution a diocesan bishop who is less than 60 years of age may stand for election for the five year position and if elected may be re-elected for a second five year term. In 2007 the synod elected the Bishop of Dar es Salaam Valentino Mokiwa, who last year announced his intention to seek re-election.
Unofficial reports of the meeting state that after three rounds of voting Bishop Chimeledya secured a majority of the 129 delegates’ votes.
Born on 28 August 1957 in Zoisa, Kongwa province, Tanzania, Bishop Chimededya earned a degree in Health Administration at Mzumbe University in 1992 and began his theological training at St Paul’s Theological College, Limuru Kenya. He was ordained a deacon in 1996 and priest in 1997, and in 2003 he received a Master’s Degree in Theology from the Virginia Theological Seminary.
At the time of his election as bishop-coadjutor of Mpwapwa in 2005, Bishop Chimeledya was the Principal of St Philip’s Theological College in Kongwa and Canon of All Saints Cathedral, Mpwapwa. In 2007 he succeeded Bishop Simon Chiwanga as Bishop of Mpwapwa.
However, the Church of England Newspaper has learned that a complaint has been drawn up that alleges 8 constitutional violations in the election process including the casting of three more ballots in the election than the number of eligible electors.
Supporters of Archbishop Mokiwa have accused the Episcopal Church of buying the votes of some delegates and flipping the election to Bishop Chimeledya in order to pull the Tanzanian church out of the global south coalition backing the Anglican Church in North America.
However, the source of the American Episcopal money has not been identified as having come from the national church offices in New York. Several American dioceses and parishes have relations with the Tanzania church. Opponents of the archbishop, however, claim that he was the bearer of foreign cash donated by the Anglican Church in North America and the Episcopal Church that was used to buy votes.
The Tanzanian church has been divided into tribal factions, a split between Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals, and a regional divide between the coast and the interior. Archbishop Mokiwa has been unable to consolidate his support among the House of Bishops, several of whose members have voiced their unhappiness with his leadership.
A returned missionary told CEN it is likely that both sides accepted money from American sources, but this would not likely change the outcome of the vote. “Tanzanians are generally cynical about money from the West: take it if offered, but then go about your business as you think best.” He added that in his opinion the dispute “probably doesn’t have much to do with larger Communion issues, if at all.”
Barring legal action the new archbishop will be installed in May at a service at the Anglican Cathedral in Dodoma.