A meeting to nominate candidates for the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod executive committee erupted into a near fist fight on Saturday when some delegates refused to accept Reverend Billy Gama’s candidacy for the position of general secretary (GS).
Sources who attended the meeting on Saturday claimed that Reverend Gama is being investigated for unclerical conduct following a publication of a photograph on social media in January 2018 which showed him in a compromised state. The sources claimed this prompted some delegates at the Blantyre Presbytery meeting held at Mpachika CCAP church to protest when his name was put forward.
The synod goes to its elective conference in August where, among the key positions, delegates are expected to elect a new general secretary, moderator and deputy moderator, including other executive positions.
Blantyre City Presbytery moderator the Reverend Mathias Hauya in a telephone interview yesterday confirmed of the differences, saying the presbytery has since resolved not to nominate any candidate for the position of GS.
“It is true there were reservations from a section of the delegates who attended the meeting. As such, I can confirm to you that we have nominated candidates for the other positions but we will not nominate anyone on the GS position. We felt that it was wrong to bring out such issues against the aspirant now as they would influence voting. Otherwise Reverend Gama has nominations from elsewhere and he will be able to contest for the position, anyway,” he said.
Reverend Hauya hinted that it was not the first time that the presbytery had cancelled endorsing a candidate for a particular position at the synod’s elective conference.
Apart from Gama, other candidates who are vying for the same position are Reverends Buxton Maulidi, Collen Mbawa and Cliff Nyekanyeka.
According to sources who attended the charged meeting, eight out of the synod’s 18 presbyteries had endorsed Gama with opposing voices coming from some delegates within Blantyre City presbytery—the most influential presbytery—whose endorsement adds lots of weight to a candidate.
Attempts to speak to Reverend Gama yesterday were unsuccessful as his mobile was out of reach.
But some delegates who spoke on condition of anonymity said two camps emerged at the mention of Reverend Gama as one of the candidates to contest on the GS position.
They said a group advancing Gama’s name insisted that the name be adopted while another refused which caused pandemonium until the chairperson of the meeting after consultation determined that no one would be nominated for the position.
Blantyre Synod General Secretary the Reverend Alex Maulana when asked to clarify on the investigation and eligibility of the Reverend Gama said the matter was shelved pending evidence.
“Everyone knows that the issue was blown on social media and these days with technological advancement it is difficult to believe every photograph. As a synod our position is that Reverend Gama is eligible to stand on any synod position until evidence is brought forward to authenticate the claims,” he said.
When contacted for comment on the synod’s position on the matter Blantyre Synod moderator the Reverend Masauko Mbolembole said his office was still waiting for an official report.
He said: “At this stage we cannot give our position until there is an official report from the presbytery.