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Mugabe meeting for Dr. Williams: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 p 1. October 18, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has presented a dossier to President Robert Mugabe chronicling the oppression of Zimbabwe’s Anglicans at the hands of the security services and thugs in the pay of breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

During his two-hour meeting with President Mugabe on 10 October, Dr Rowan Williams urged the Zimbabwe strongman to halt the attacks. President Mugabe professed ignorance of the persecution, but countered by asking the Anglican Church to condemn the sanctions imposed by the West against his regime and for the church to take a firm stand against homosexuality.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Dr Williams – who was accompanied by Archbishops Albert Chama of Central Africa, Thabo Makgoba of South Africa, Valentino Mokiwa of Tanzania, and the bishops of Harare and Botswana characterised the meeting as having been “very candid” where “disagreements were expressed clearly, but I think in a peaceful manner.”

Dr Williams also clarified the Anglican Communion’s stance on homosexuality, disavowing recent moves by the American and Canadian Churches to authorise gay bishops and blessings stating the church does not allow same-sex relationships and that is common ground across the Anglicans.

“On the practice of homosexuality by bishops in the US and Canada, these are provinces, which do not represent the general line,” he told reporters.

A statement from the bishops said the dossier presented to the President “gives a full account of the abuses to which our people and our church has been subject. We have asked, in the clearest possible terms, that the President use his powers as Head of State to put an end to all unacceptable and illegal behaviour.”

Archbishop Makgoba reported that “although moving on in age and forgetful in certain instances, the President was aware of our pain, frustration and disappointment at the police-aided church conflict and violence by Kunonga.”

The archbishops “appealed to his heart and his Catholic conscience, and asked him to stop the suffering of his people,” Archbishop Makgoba said, adding that “President Mugabe asked that we also pray and intervene to end sanctions, as they were hurting all Zimbabweans. He also said Britain had dishonoured its pledges in the implementation of the country’s post-independence land reform programme.”

After introductions and pleasantries, the meeting began with an hour-long presentation by Dr Williams and his team on the problems facing the church. According to the government-run Harare Herald, President Mugabe said he was unaware of many of the incidents cited by the bishops, but stated the courts would have to sort out the dispute.

President Mugabe then launched into a 30-minute soliloquy, denouncing homosexuality, Western sanctions against his regime and the evils of white colonial rule. He also urged the two Anglican factions to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences.

“He said it would be better for everyone if they united. The President said he hoped the Anglican delegation did not come to Zimbabwe under the impression that the disharmony is the act of Government,” a source told the Herald.