John Sentamu refuses to be collared
by Trevor Grundy (CJA)
18 September, 2011
The Zimbabwean on Sunday
Ugandan-born John Sentamu, the (Anglican) Archbishop of York will continue refusing to wear a dog collar until Robert Mugabe is out of office – despite the fact that his immediate “boss,” Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, plans to meet the Zimbabwean dictator in Harare next month. “The Archbishop will stick to his principles. He cut up his dog collar on the Andrew Marr Show on 9 December 2007 and said that he would not put it on again until Mugabe was out of power. He has no intention of putting it on again until that happens,” one of his aides told me.
Sentamu, 62, caused a sensation in Anglican circles when he cut up his symbol of being a clergyman, asking his interviewer: “Do you know what Mugabe has done? He has taken people’s identity and literally cut it to pieces. So, as far as I’m concerned, from now on I’m not going to wear a dog collar until Mugabe is gone.” The irony of the situation is clear to those who wish the Archbishop of Canterbury well in his attempts to make Mugabe see sense over the burning issue of church property ownership in Zimbabwe. The legitimate Anglican Church has been effectively hi-jacked by the rebel “bishop” Nolbert Kunonga who was excommunicated by Williams after the fiery pro-Mugabe cleric’s attempt to remove his diocese from the Anglican Province of Central Africa. Kunonga has always said that his actions were in protest against the western churches growing toleration of homosexuals who Mugabe describes as “worse than dogs and pigs.”
With the help of police, Kunonga has seized something like 40 percent of all Anglican church and other property in Zimbabwe. Williams has asked to meet Mugabe to discuss this. His visit will be the first by a prominent public figure from Britain in a decade.
The trip starts on 5 October in Malawi with a celebration of 150 years of the Anglican Church in that country. After he shredded his collar on television four years ago Sentamu described Mugabe as “the worst kind of racist dictator”. He has criticized African leaders who defended Mugabe as a freedom fighter who liberated his country from white rule.