Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of 72-year-old Zimbabwean Bishop, Appoints Caretaker

Bishop-emeritus Michael Dixon Bhasera (right) and Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndhlovu (left), the Apostolic Administrator of the Zimbabwean Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Dixon Bhasera of the Catholic Diocese of Masvingo in Zimbabwe, the 72-year-old Catholic Church leader who started his Episcopal Ministry in the Zimbabwean Diocese of Gokwe in October 1991.

In a Tuesday, July 19 bulletin announcing the latest administrative changes, the Holy Father appointed the Local Ordinary of Harare Archdiocese, Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndhlovu, the Apostolic Administrator of the Zimbabwean Diocese. 

The Holy See Press Office bulletin does not give any reason for the resignation of the Bishop Bhasera who has served as the Local Ordinary of Masvingo since 1999

Catholic Bishops are expected to submit their respective letters of retirement at the age of 75. Compelling reasons such as “ill-health or other grave problems” justify the offering of such a letter of resignation.

Bishop Bhasera was ordained a Priest in August 1978. He was appointed Local Ordinary of Gokwe Diocese in June 1991 and ordained Bishop for the Episcopal See four months later.


In February 1999, he was appointed Bishop of Masvingo Diocese. 

Bishop Bhasera served as the Apostolic Administrator of Gweru Diocese from April 2012 to September 2013 when the late Bishop Xavier Johnsai Munyongani was ordained as Local Ordinary of the Zimbabwean Diocese. 

When Bishop Munyongani died in October 2017, Bishop Bhasera was reappointed Apostolic Administrator of Gweru. 

He ceased being Gweru's Apostolic Administrator in October 2020 when Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro was installed.

Meanwhile, the newly appointed Apostolic Administrator of Masvingo Diocese was born in 1955. 

More in Africa

Archbishop Ndhlovu was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Hwange in August 1983. 

The Zimbabwean Archbishop who has been at the helm of Harare Archdiocese since August 2016 started his Episcopal Ministry in his native Diocese of Hwange in May 1999.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.