Perhaps Robert Mugabe will offer Rowan Williams a nice cup of tea today if they actually meet. The side order of a crisp biscuit though will be replaced with sufferance. Williams has angered the president after repeatedly speaking out against the regime. He has highlighted the lawlessness that has been an integral part of the country for many years and links it with the greed of colonialists and imperialists. Mugabe’s anger will have been fuelled further when the Archbishop of Canterbury conducted a service at Harare’s national stadium. He praised the people gathered for their “patience, generosity and endurance” and concluded that they can “triumph even over these mindless and godless assaults”.
Yet the primary reason that Rowan Williams is visiting the country is about the split in the Anglican church. The break away and corrupt bishop Kunonga has taken supporters away. Equally alarming is the reality that Anglicans have been banished from their churches by the corrupt regime and the police who are supporting the ousted bishop. They have been forced to worship under trees because of the eviction.
So Rowan Williams has plenty to say to the President. Yet it seems that Mugabe isn’t going to be passive or submissive if they do meet. He will tackle the suffering of the people through the international sanctions on the country. He might just raise the issue of homosexuality that the Anglican church globally are grappling with currently.
I admire Rowan Williams for standing up for his convictions, and standing alongside the poor and dispossessed. Even if the primary reason for visiting the country is pastoral he is prepared to look Mugabe in the eye and challenge the injustice. Oh to be a fly on the wall as those two men sip tea in their china cups!!!
Image taken from Telegraph Blog