Magazine article The Christian Century

Zimbabwe Methodists Defrock Theologian

Magazine article The Christian Century

Zimbabwe Methodists Defrock Theologian

Article excerpt

Canaan Banana, the first president of Zimbabwe after it won its independence, has been defrocked by the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe following his conviction on a series of charges of sexual assaults on men who were employed by him when he was head of state. Bishop Farai Chirisa, head of the country's Methodist Church, said on May 4 that church elders agreed to strip Banana of his clerical rank because the Zimbabwean courts had found him guilty of sexual assault.

"He is no longer a minister because of what happened," Chirisa said. "The church took that decision. He can never become a minister of the church. As far as we are concerned it is a dead issue. A decision has been made, and, anyway, we are not prepared to discuss it any further." Chirisa said, however, that Banana could, if he wished, attend church services just like any other ordinary member.

Banana, although protesting his innocence of the assault charges, has not contested the church's decision, He was informed in writing "a couple of months ago," but the news has only recently become public. …

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