A historical study of the border dispute between the Livingstonia and Nkhoma Synods of the Church of Central African Presbyterian (1956-2015).
Mapala, Cogitator Wilton.
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This thesis seeks to understand the political, socio-cultural and ecclesiastical circumstances which explain why ethnicity is a recurrent problem in the border dispute between the Livingstonia and Nkhoma Synods of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) and why it has reached a stalemate (B 3). To accomplish this, the study engages a combination of three theories developed by Antonio Gramsci, Horace M. Kallen and David J. Bosch, namely the Gramscian Hegemonic Theory, Cultural Pluralism Theory and Mission in Unity Theory, in that order. Methodologically, it relies on documentation, interviews and archival sources. This thesis provides a historical background to the Livingstonia-Nkhoma border dispute. It also has shown that after the transfer of (A1) the Kasungu Station to the Dutch Reformed Church Mission by the Livingstonia Mission the boundary between the two missions was the Dwangwa River in the Kasungu District and the Bua River in the Nkhotakota District, as agreed in 1923 and affirmed in 1958. However, the boundary was purposely disregarded for missiological and political reasons. This is why the study argues that the Livingstonia-Nkhoma border dispute is not territorial, but rather it is political along ethnic lines. Ethnicity is employed by the elite and bourgeoisie who prey on the people’s perceptions towards language, educational and economic discrepancies, as a tool for in-group mobilisation and counter-mobilisation. It is through the attempt to dominate the other ethnic groups and resist the domination resulted into the border dispute between the Livingstonia and Nkhoma Synods. Therefore, ethnicity represents dominance and resistance. This also explains why the border dispute reached a stalemate. Therefore, the study argues that the ethnic cleavages between the Chewa and non-Chewa, as presented in the Livingstonia-Nkhoma border dispute, were not based on primordial motives, but rather it was consciously crafted for mobilisation by the elites and the bourgeoisie within the CCAP. It is a creation of the church leaders with support of few church members. The church leaders showed more loyalty to their Synods than to Christianity and ecclesiastical unity. Their action is not only against the missio Dei but it is counterproductive to the nation-building. It is divisive and a betrayal to the Christian church’s noble calling in the fragmented world. The thesis has also shown that if religious and ethnic identities overlap, most ordinary church members, unlike their leaders, show loyalty to Christianity as their common bond. In the light of the no-border resolution, the study asks whether there is one CCAP or many CCAPs, and whether the missiological