BULAWAYO, Monday, October 7, 1991 — The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe’s two-year power struggle, which threatened to split the church, has finally been buried with the election of a new bishop-elect, the Reverend David Dubani Siphuma of Beitbridge.
Rev Siphuma was elected at an extraordinary Church Assembly meeting held at the church’s Njube Youth Centre in Bulawayo on Saturday to replace Bishop Jonas Shiri who led the church for the past 16 years.
Rev Siphuma beat Rev Ezekiel Gwate from Gwanda, and Rev Tupe Mathe of Manama in the contest for the post, according to the church spokesman, Professor Ngwabi Bhebhe.
The church’s new constitution stipulates that only the western deanery was expected to field candidates for the post of bishop. The deputy bishop will be drawn from the eastern in this election.
The western deanery comprises the two Matabeleland provinces and the eastern deanery comprises areas in the Midlands, Masvingo and the rest of Mashonaland. Bishop Shiri did not seek re-election opting to step down to make way for a new leadership.
Rev Ambrose Moyo, a senior lecturer in theory and religious studies at the University of Zimbabwe, was elected deputy bishop and Rev Litsietsi Dube and Rev Hendricks Mavunduse were elected deans of the western and eastern deaneries respectively.
Bishop Shiri will continue to lead the church until next February when the new bishop will be consecrated.
Bishop Shiri will become a ceremonial leader. The meeting was attended by 182 delegates, 76 of which were drawn from the western deanery with the rest coming from the eastern deanery.