In all honesty I’m not too sure exactly where on the map Botswana is. At best I can say with some certainty it’s in Africa, but since little Martyn Minns didn’t know much more about Nigeria until Big Pete Akinola said he could become a Bishop I’m not losing any sleep over this gap in my geographical understanding.
What I do know, however, is that Botswana is most definitely a place where the Bishop speaks plainly and sees through the current love for smoke and mirrors. I’ll also bet I’m certainly not the only one who’s glad it never crossed their mind to affiliate to affiliate with him. Truthfulness is the last quality those seeking “alternative oversight” want to look for in their new leader: who knows what they’ll find if they start snooping? (Maybe that’s why Rick Warren has started hanging out with Bobby Duncan?)
The reason I say all this is because of an interview Bishop Mwamba of Botswana gave to Pat Ashworth of the Church Times. In it His Grace suggests the claim that the Nigerian and Ugandan churches represent the paradigm of unity might be just a tiny exaggeration: “When they say 200 of our brothers have boycotted the conference – definitely no. Maybe given the freedom, one or two would have stayed behind. It must be clearly understood: the reason why they didn’t come is that they were forced not to come.” Earlier in the piece he is equally direct: “the point is that a lot of those brothers of ours – 200 is a nice round figure – would have wanted to come here.”
And who can blame them? If you can’t taste just a few of the privileges that come with a purple cassock what’s the point? Big Pete’s Lagos domicile might be quite urbane, but it’s a safe bet the poor fellows stuck out in the Sharia-infested countryside would dearly love a couple of weeks break from thinking everyday might be their last. Which, given the stability and loyalty for which Nigerian politics are famous, suggests that while he may have been able to twist everyone’s arm into letting him stay for one more year there’s no way the rank and file will be in any hurry to forget the party the were forced to miss, and even if they don’t ever find the courage to take out their anger on Big Pete himself, whoever he appoints to carry on in his place is going to be made to pay. And pay.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible