Jonathan Siyachitema
Born1932
Died6 May 2022
Cause of deathCancer
Resting placeSt Mary’s Cemetery, Chitungwiza
ResidenceZimbabwe
NationalityZimbabwean
Known forBeing an Anglican Bishop
Spouse(s)Rosemary Siyachitema

Jonathan Siyachitema (born 1932) was an Anglican bishop in Zimbabwe. Siyachitema was the former Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare and served from 1995 to 1997. He also served as the Archdeacon of Matabeleland from 1974 to 1978 and Dean of Bulawayo from 1978 to 1981. Siyachitema led a delegation of church leaders to the Lancaster House Conference.

Background

In 2021, Jonathan Siyachitema lost five family members in a space of a few weeks to Covid-19. He lost his wife Rosemary, who was a celebrated consumer activist and the executive director of the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.

His daughters, Elizabeth and Rosemary, as well as his brother, Reverend Fanuel Siyachitema, and sister, Mrs Judith Bindu, also reportedly succumbed to Covid-19.[1] His son John died after he developed kidney disease, which was linked to his drinking. He survived by his oldest daughter Florence Siyachitema-Maruza.[2]

Education & Career

Jonathan Siyachitema was educated at Sarum College in Salisbury, England. He was ordained a priest in 1971 for the diocese of Bulawayo and served as Archdeacon of Matabeleland from 1974 to 1978 then Dean of Bulawayo until 1981. He was appointed suffragan bishop of the Lundi in 1981 and was elected Bishop of Harare in 1995, retiring in 2000.[3]

In July 1996, Jonathan Siyachitema was replaced as the President of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC). Before his replacement as ZCC President, Siyachitema had caused controversy in Zimbabwe by publicly criticising homosexuals, but a ZCC official said this was not the reason for his replacement.

Enos Chomutiri who was ZCC vice-president at the time said Siyachitema was replaced because he had served as president for two four-year terms, so the council felt a change was needed.[4]

He served on various boards, including at the University of Zimbabwe, Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe and Zimpapers.[2]

Comments On Land Invasion By War Veterans

In 2000, Jonathan Siyachitema issued a statement on the invasion by war veterans of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe.

He said the diocese “believes most sincerely that the land in this country must be shared in accordance to the proportion of the inhabitants and that the resources must be distributed more equitably but this has to be done in a lawful, orderly and transparent manner that is devoid of corruption."

He said the diocese had set up a Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Committee to address racial, tribal or cultural conflicts and work towards their reconciliation.

Siyachitema said the “war of liberation was fought largely to repossess the land that was grabbed by the settler colonialists. The only people who can resolve this issue are Zimbabweans only without any influence from outside.” [5]

Death

Jonathan Siyachitema died on May 6 2022 after a long battle with cancer. He was laid to rest at St Mary’s Cemetery in Chitungwiza.[2] Siyachitema was mourned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who granted Siyachitema a State-Assisted Funeral in the light of his outstanding contributions to society.[6]

References

  1. Anglican Church consoles Bishop as five family members die, The Sunday Mail, Published: February 10, 2021, Retrieved: May 9, 2022
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fatima Bulla-Musakwa, Bishop Siyachitema: Tough end to illustrious life, The Sunday Mail, Published: May 15, 2022, Retrieved: May 18, 2022
  3. George Conger, COVID-19 carries off 5 members of Bishop Siyachitema’s family, anglican.ink, Published: February 6, 2021, Retrieved: May 9, 2022
  4. Central Africa: Bishop Siyachitema Steps Down as President of Ecumenical Council, anglicannews.org, Published: July 28, 1996, Retrieved: May 9, 2022
  5. Land must be shared: bishop, Aglican Journal, Published: June 1, 2000, Retrieved: May 9, 2022
  6. President mourns Bishop Siyachitema and Mr Mutengezanwa, ZBC News, Published: May 9, 2022, Retrieved: May 9, 2022