Blantyre Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbytery (CCAP) has finally dismissed its prison chaplain the Reverend Stanley Chimesya after months of fighting and finger pointing between him and general secretary the Reverend Alex Maulana.
While describing the development as “internal matters of transfers” in an interview yesterday, Maulana confirmed relieving Rev Chimesya of his duties as prison chaplain.
Blantyre Synod turned into an uncompromising political battleground following accusations that the two were being used separately by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its rival former ruling People’s Party (PP).
The DPP was alleged to be sponsoring Maulana ahead of the synod’s electoral General Assembly, which took place last year on August 25 while the PP was suspected to be funding Maulana’s opponents—Reverends Paul Mawaya and Lazarus Kadango through Chimesya.
Maulana eventually emerged triumphant (his second term) after amassing 210 votes, beating Mawaya who got 100 votes while Kadango went away with 34 votes.
However, both PP and DPP quashed the allegations that they were backing the candidates in the polls that were characteriSed by tension and chaos as delegates disagreed over which constitution to use to elect leaders.
The synod’s general secretary told The Nation yesterday that Rev Chimesya had been removed as the synod’s prison chaplain with immediate effect and replaced with the Reverend Mathero Msatithe of Nchalo CCAP congregation in Chikwawa.
Said Maulana: “People are in various departments of the synod for particular periods and usually the maximum is six years and this is the seventh year for Rev Chimesya, so his removal is solely on that basis of years. We are posting him to Nchalo CCAP because the one who has been appointed to take over from him is from there, so we thought of just posting him there.”
The general secretary said the transfer was with immediate effect, but since there was need for handovers his departure will only be determined by the speed with which the two clergy men finalise the handovers.
Chimesya confirmed receiving communication from the synod’s general secretary in an interview at his house yesterday, but said he was yet to make a decision on whether to go to Nchalo or not.
Chimesya accused his boss of victimising him for his stand against honesty and because of a vehicle, Nissan Serena, which former president Joyce Banda ‘donated’ to him when she was still in power.
“I am totally shocked with the decision taken by our general secretary. I am not clinging to the position, but I am just against the manner in which I am being treated. It is as if I have committed a crime,” complained Chimesya, who is scheduled to travel to the United States of America (USA) and Canada for more than a month to talk about prison chaplaincy ministry.
However, the reverend vowed that he would not give the vehicle to the synod “come what may because all this is being done out of jealousy.”
Sources at the synod told The Nation that, among other factors, Chimesya may have been removed as prison chaplain because of a letter he wrote to the general secretary last month detailing a number of the synod’s shortfalls on which he demanded clarifications from Maulana.
In the letter dated 19th January 2016, which The Nation has seen, Chimesya queried the synod’s bank overdraft worth millions of kwacha at one commercial bank accumulated in 2015 when it collects millions of kwacha in form of offerings, rentals of its premises and other sources.
But Maulana said: “People will always come up with their own stories. Whatever happens, what we know is Reverend Chimesya is a minister and has to minister. If he has got issues, that is him. Moreover, it is the general administration committee that has decided that at least he should move. He has done his work and his part.”