Charges of TEC-Related Fraud and Bribery Filed Re: Election of Tanzanian Primate
The general synod of the Anglican Province of Tanzania held an election on Saturday to select a primate, and now a complaint has been filed with the provincial House of Bishops to suspend the results of the election pending an investigation into charges of fraud and bribery.
Elected by just three votes on the third ballot was Bishop Jacob Chimeledya, a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary—but the total number of votes cast in the election was four more than the number of clergy and laity present and voting.
The runner-up was the existing primate of Tanzania, Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa, who had been serving since 2007, and who was eligible for one more five-year term.
The complaint asks the House to annul the election, and to remove from their offices the synod’s General Secretary, Dr. Dickson Chilongani, and its Registrar, Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi. It alleges that the election had been rigged by means of “walking around” money to the tune of $50,000, spread among those who voted for +Chimeledya, and that the money came from a source within the Episcopal Church (USA).
However, supporters of Bishop Chimeledya have charged that it was Archbishop Mokiwa and his followers who used American money to try to influence the election. But if so, the attempt obviously failed—and the extra four votes remain unexplained.
The two factions differ sharply over the current stance of the Province toward the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada.
In 2006, after ECUSA’s General Convention failed to make any meaningful response to the Windsor Report, the Tanzanian House of Bishops issued a statement condemning the stance of ECUSA, and declaring that its communion with that Church was “severely impaired.” At the same time, the House of Bishops declared that the Anglican Province of Tanzania would remain in communion with those in ECUSA (or those who had left) who are “faithful to Biblical Christianity and the authority of Scripture.”
Bishop Chimeledya and his followers do not support that position, and want to have Tanzania declare that it is once more in full communion with ECUSA and the ACoC. They also reportedly want to distance the Province from the Global South and GAFCON. That agenda is what makes the charges of bribery and fraud in the election so critical.
Ironically, in the same 2006 statement, the Tanzanian House of Bishops declared:
Further to the consequent state of the severely impaired communion, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania declares that henceforth the Anglican Church of Tanzania shall not knowingly accept financial and material aid from Dioceses, parishes, Bishops, priests, individuals and institutions in the Episcopal Church (USA) that condone homosexual practice or bless same sex unions.
It will evidently take some time for the truth to emerge. When it does, there could be repercussions here in America.
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