Leadership and Conflict in African Churches

The Anglican Experience

by Mkunga H. P. Mtingele (Author)
©2017 Monographs XXIV, 266 Pages


Leadership and Conflict in African Churches: The Anglican Experience investigates the involvement of leadership and conflict in the African church. Mkunga H. P. Mtingele’s previous work with the government as a state attorney and his leadership positions in the Anglican Church gave him sufficient exposure and experience to witness the increase of conflict arising from leadership, not only in the Anglican Church of Tanzania, but also in other denominations and organizations in Tanzania, Africa, and beyond.
This book highlights and encourages people to understand that conflict is a social phenomenon, endemic and inevitable part of life, the causes of which must be comprehended. This book intends to get rid of the negative perception which many people have that conflicts are an inherent menace, which should be avoided. Conflict is constructive or destructive depending on one’s perception as well as the level it has reached. Tools of analysis used can be applicable to different situations both in secular and religious institutions, organizations, and governments.
Leadership and Conflict in African Churches is intended to contribute to, and encourage, a wider debate on conflict about leadership. Scholars and general interest groups alike will find specific use in the areas of management, leadership, conflict resolution, theology, religious studies, and social research methodology disciplines.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Advance praise for Leadership and Conflict in African Churches
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Foreword by Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Abbreviations
  • 1 The Study
  • 2 Assessment of Leadership and Conflict Theories in Secular and Religious Organizations
  • 3 Research Methodology
  • 4 An Overview of the Anglican Church of Tanzania
  • 5 Conflicts About Leadership: Narratives of Six Case Studies
  • 6 Interpretation of Conflicts in the Anglican Church of Tanzania
  • 7 Management of Conflicts
  • 8 Analysis and Critical Assessment of Consequences of Leadership Conflicts
  • 9 Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Series index

← x | xi →




1.         Data Analysis Scheme

2.         Cobweb Complex Network of the DVN Conflict

3.         Creation of Dioceses and Transition of Bishops and Archbishops in ACT

4.         Path Dependence of United Republic of Tanzania and the ACT


1.         Missionary Dioceses in Eastern and Central Africa in 1927 (source: Gollock 1927)

2.         Dioceses of ACT at the Time of Creation of CPEA in 1960

3.         Evolution of ACT 1892–2003

4.         Five Case Study Dioceses ← xi | xii →

← xii | xiii →



I am delighted to welcome this informative and stimulating book from the pen of Rev Canon Dr Mkunga Mtingele. This is a rare book, a book like no other. It is based on research conducted for his PhD at a university in the UK, and therefore based on factual empirical data obtained from interviews, focus group discussions, church documents and records, among others in the Anglican Church of Tanzania in the post-colonial period.

Admittedly this book handles a sensitive and delicate subject. It examines matters to do with leadership in the Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT)—and also matters to do with the integrity, accountability, transparency of the leaders of the top leadership and within the church structures and bureaucracy as a whole. It takes a detailed look at the succession process in the various Dioceses of the ACT as well at the Provincial level. Issues of clannism and tribalism, of regional biases, of low and high Anglican traditional politics, of kleptocratic and other corrupt practices are honestly discussed together with the relevant supporting evidence illustrated by specific examples. The findings reported herein are unsettling and disquieting. They pose troublesome questions and challenges not only to the ACT but to all the other Churches as well. Something needs to be done. Something must be done, if the Church is to regain her moral high ground as the Light and Salt of the earth. The work of evangelism and making disciples who are true ← xiii | xiv → followers of Christ, molded in His image is hampered if the obstacles discussed in this book persist.

The challenges and questions posed in this important book are not just for the Church in Tanzania but in Africa as a whole, and perhaps elsewhere as a well. I also believe and rightly so, that they are relevant in institutions, organizations and governments. The embarrassing revelations discussed in this book could have been better simply glossed over. It does not however help to bury our heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich. These issues need to be confronted head on in the spirit of the admonition to walk in the light. A reformation is called for, a radical change to correct these malpractices. The church in Tanzania and in Africa must undergo a transformation that makes these challenges a thing of the past. The church must confront the challenges of the future without the baggage of the past and without a focus on personalities and struggles linked to them.

The Rev Canon Dr Mtingele has done a commendable job in courageously bringing these issues to the fore without fear or favor. It is my hope that this book will be widely circulated and studied, and that these issues will be widely debated and reflected upon, and acted upon. Inasmuch as the Province of Tanzania brings both the ‘high and low’ church traditions together, other Anglican Churches in Africa, such as in Nigeria and Kenya, have a lot to benefit from this book. Dr Mtingele is well positioned and qualified to bring this message. After many years of service in strategic positions of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, including service as a Provincial General Secretary, he had unrestricted access to all of the primary and secondary sources and actors as well.

I warmly welcome this book and pray that it will be positively received by all stake holders, especially in the Church.

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon

Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

← xiv | xv →



When I was appointed General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Tanzania my first assignment was to deal with the conflict of the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza. The first visitors to receive as General Secretary were people from the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza. This was the second day after I came back from the UK for my further studies. As I was yet to go to the office the delegation came home. They had only one agenda item. They handed me a letter addressed to the Archbishop rejecting Rev John Changae, at the time the bishop designate, having been duly elected by the Electoral College of the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza. That was my initiation to the position of General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Tanzania.

One of my duties as General Secretary was to be secretary to the House of Bishops, the Provincial Standing Committee, the Provincial Synod and other committees. I was also privileged to be invited to visit dioceses in the province and attended their Diocesan Council as well as Synods. I could see how the House of Bishops struggled with that conflict under watch of two Archbishops whom I worked with. I left after more than sixteen years in office; yet the DVN conflict did not only persist but it evolved and became more complex.

That was not the only conflict that I dealt with, there were several others and at different stages and levels. These had to do with the leadership styles of the bishops and particularly when there was a see vacant or about to fall vacant. ← xv | xvi →

As General Secretary I was privileged to travel around the globe attending conferences and various meetings including the Lambeth Conference of 1998. In 1993 I was one of the members of the Anglican Consultative Council, which I served for a full term. This enabled me to participate in various discussions including conflicts. This was the time when the Anglican Communion started to be openly turbulent because of the difficult agenda of same sex relationships.

Therefore having worked as an ecclesiastical civil servant at the Provincial office for sixteen years out of which twelve were as the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Tanzania I have witnessed the increase of conflicts not only in the Anglican Church but also in other denominations and religious groups in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa.

This rich experience I had in dealing with leadership conflicts impacted me greatly and led me to explore more widely and deeply matters relating to conflict particularly in the church. My focus was to explore the context, nature, causes and consequences of conflict and how these conflicts were being managed in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. The period covered for this study and hence this book is from 1960 to 2000. This is the period of indigenous leadership in Africa not only in ecclesiastical but in secular governments as well.

When I shared my interest of engaging in research studies on leadership conflict to the two Archbishops under whom I worked, namely John Ramadhani and Donald Mtetemela, they both encouraged me to do so. I was further more encouraged to turn my thesis material into a book, in order to reach a wider coverage of readership and to create an opportunity not only for scholarly debate but also for a reference book, as well as to help the African church especially its leaders to understand and engage real issues in order to redress them. This book therefore is a result of my own experience which gave me the appetite to study and explore on the subject of leadership conflicts.

The study of conflict is especially worthwhile in post-colonial Africa because different forms of conflict routinely take place all over Africa, not only in the church but also in civil society. This study therefore seeks to explain the context, nature, and causes of conflict in the Anglican Church of Tanzania which took place at critical moments, such as during the election of bishops and archbishops in the era of indigenous leadership. It then examines the management and consequences of the conflict.

The geo-social coverage for the empirical study is focused on five selected dioceses out of which three are Anglo-Catholic and two are Evangelical. The province as a whole has been treated as the sixth case specifically to examine conflict regarding the differences of traditions. ← xvi | xvii →

The primary sources of data for this study were interviews of a wide range of people who had personal knowledge of the relevant issues both in Tanzania and in the UK and also documents in Tanzania and in the archives in the UK and Australia. The documents and transcripts of interviews have been used to construct case narratives from which explanations have been made.

The central thesis of this study is that in complex organizations such as churches there cannot be a single but must be multiple explanations of conflict. A synthesis of Western, African traditional and organizational cultures of the church created the context for and is the main cause of conflicts. This can better be explained by some aspects of institutional theory such as path-dependence, resources-dependence and field-dependence.

Conflicts are perceived differently by various people. There are those who treat conflicts negatively and others perceive them constructively, their management will largely depend on one’s perception. In most cases people perceive conflicts as destructive as it was the case with most if not all conflicts I have personally experienced and dealt with. This was one of the reasons why I decided to explore more about conflicts and their management. I was asking whether there was anything good in conflicts; the research which gave rise to this book answered the question.

Everything mentioned in this book is factual arising from empirical data. Due to confidentiality agreements with the respondents their names have been coded except where the person gave consent to reveal his or her identity.

Some may I ask why I decided to unearth all this and make it known to the world. To them I have the following answer: African leaders have to change their way of thinking and their style of leadership. Change will not come if the truth is not told. That would be doing a gross injustice to their followers.

This book is not only about the Anglican Church of Tanzania or about Africa. It is applicable across the board. The tools of analysis used can be employed in any situation and anywhere around the world and the findings as well.

What I have done and am still doing is to contribute to the debate about leadership and conflict management. I decided to combine these two complex issues because they are inseparable in the context of my studies. I invite you to journey with me through the book so that we can explore together the complexities of conflicts relating to leadership.

Mkunga H.P. Mtingele


September 2016
← xvii | xviii →

← xviii | xix →



I wish very sincerely and heartily to thank many people who, in various ways contributed towards the production of this work some of them unwittingly and it is impossible to mention all of them except a few. First I acknowledge the Archbishop Emeritus John Ramadhani under whom I worked for many years at the Provincial office for his fatherly encouragement when I first raised with him my interest to pursue research studies leading into PhD, which gave rise to this book before he retired as an Archbishop, and to his successor Archbishop Emeritus Donald Mtetemela also for his support and releasing me from my busy desk.

I wish to thank Dr. Christina Baxter then Principal of St. John’s College for her encouragement and logistical support after I had raised the matter with her at our last meeting as members of the Anglican Consultative Council at Dundee. Without her this task would not have been possible.

Many organizations and individuals made generous financial commitments and sacrifices to facilitate this project. I would like to thank them all and I wish to mention the following on behalf of the rest: These are ECUSA through Canon Patrick Mauney and Brother James Teets, BSG Canon, the Evangelical Alliance, United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG), Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ann and Allan Ferguson Charitable Trust, the Diocese of Southwell, St. John’s College, Jean and Hugh Reger and ← xix | xx → others. I also thank David Hale then college Bursar for facilitating financial affairs despite at times being under great strain and making very difficult decisions.

The staff and community of St. John’s College and Canon Brian Barrodale and the community of St. John the Baptist Parish in Beeston who have been exceedingly understanding, generous and supportive in very many ways for which I deeply appreciate and thank them.

Academically I would like to register special gratitude to my two supervisors Dr. John Darch and Prof. Anthony Berry for their excellent advices and guidance and who continuously challenged my thinking to probe issues more critically towards deeper understanding. I also wish to thank Dr. Stephen Travis, then Vice Principal and Director of Research at St. John’s College for his excellent facilitation of many things. I cannot forget to thank Roger Bowen and Graham Sykes for their support in proofreading my PhD manuscript.

Last, but not least, I express my very special and profound gratitude to my wife Rose and our five children for very special support and encouragement towards this project and for many things they have endured for my being away from them. They made very courageous sacrifice to which I am heavily indebted.

To all these and many others who inadvertently might have helped me, I find no words to adequately express my gratitude. I can only say in Swahili “Asanteni sana na Mungu azidi kuwabariki” (many thanks and may God continue to bless you).


XXIV, 266
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (November)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2017. XXII, 266 pp.

Biographical notes

Mkunga H. P. Mtingele (Author)

Rev. Canon Dr. Mkunga H. P. Mtingele has a Ph.D. in leadership and conflict management from Open University (UK); an M.A. and Postgraduate Diploma in theological studies from Open University (UK) and St. John’s College, Nottingham (UK) respectively; as well as a LL.B. (Hons.) from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is a former state attorney in the Ministry of Justice and a former general secretary of the Anglican Church of Tanzania. He served on the Anglican Consultative Council (1993–1999). Currently, he is General Secretary of the Bible Society of Tanzania and serves on the Global Council of United Bible Societies.


Title: Leadership and Conflict in African Churches
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
book preview page numper 35
book preview page numper 36
book preview page numper 37
book preview page numper 38
book preview page numper 39
book preview page numper 40
292 pages