AME fires homophobic bishop

Bishop Paul J.M. Kawimbe

Bishop Paul Mulenga Kawimbe, the head of a more than 40 000-member strong district of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME), has been fired due to alleged homophobia and trying to oust another bishop who supports equal rights.

According to The Star, it has been revealed via South Gauteng High Court papers that Kawimbe was accused by Reverend Teboho Klaas of “waging a concerted battle to get rid of him as a pastor due to Klaas’s public support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community”. 

Klaas is also alleging that his dismissal as the head of AME’s Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, branch was “unfair” and as a result of Kawimbe’s “homophobia”.

The court papers quote Klaas as saying: “He (Kawimbe) does not believe that the LGBTI people should be accorded similar privileges in the AME or that, as an active pastor in AME, I should be seen actively campaigning for the respect of the human rights of the LGBTI people.”

Other accusations made against Kawimbe include the alleged looting of the Sanlam provident fund, and that the bishop flouted AME processes by axing pastors without following the church’s procedures.

The Star further reveals that Kawimbe has now been officially removed on Thursday “for the good of the church” by the church’s judicial council. Upon being approached by the newspaper, he answered that he would not comment “as a matter of principle”.

Kawimbe’s lawyer, advocate JH van der Berg Lubbe, also did not respond to the allegations of homophobia against his client in court last week. Judgment has been reserved.