The provocative Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) has once again, in its signature vocalist tone, attacked unscrupulous churches who milk congregations of their hard earned moneys – which they say is against the will of God.
The umbrella church movement which derives most of its affiliates from Pentecostal churches, otherwise known as “fire churches” many of which have been accused of running churches like business entities instead of non-profit organization, told Weekend Post that such churches are a disgrace to the entire church movement.
As an umbrella of evangelical, Pentecostal and Para church organisations in the country, EFB told Weekend Post this week in a statement of the year titled “building a Botswana that God wants” that some churches financially exploit their susceptible congregations. According to EFB, as a country “we are experiencing un-orthodox evangelical teachings and practices which take advantage of our gullible population.”
EFB President, Pastor Master Obololetswe Matlhaope, said “such practices include teaching of the word of God for hefty prices, demanding money in exchange for prayers, selling material things as medium for healing and luck in the name of God.”
In the same communication to this publication, Matlhaope stressed that as evangelicals, they remind all and sundry that the gospel alone is the power of God and that prayer is “priceless.”
On corruption, nepotism…
EFB which prides itself with empowering members to become relevant to the socio-economic-political needs of the nation, also robustly cautioned against corruption practices in every work station across the country. “No corruption or under the table dealings that compromise laid down rules and procedures should be tolerated in our nation. Merit should always precede appointments for jobs and promotions.”
Going forward, Matlhaope said, as a nation, we should ensure that there is no nepotism or bribery and ensure that every Motswana has equal opportunities for any position they qualify for or tender in the country regardless of name, tribe, identity or where he or she comes from in Botswana.
On homosexuality (the unholy act)…
Known for their signature abhorrence to homosexuality, EFB, also took a swipe in a more calculated move to gays and lesbians – who are never spared the rod, for what the church movement describes as “unholy” act. “In our quest to social inclusiveness as a nation, we should not succumb to foreign pressures and inner propensities to do evil in the name of civil rights. Civil laws should be based on what is morally right. There cannot be a civil right to do a civil wrong,” EFB president asserted. He appealed to Batswana in general and to Christians especially to be steadfast and fearless in standing for their Christian convictions and values that they believe are right for them and for their nation.
He however conceded that it is a fact based on the last census that majority of Botswana citizens are Christians and yet according to Botswana Aids Impact Survey (BAIS IV) the country is still one of the hardest hit when it comes to HIV prevalence.
“This would seem to be contradiction of facts. The explanation however, could be that we either are only professing Christians who do not live by Christian principles, or some other socio-economic factors could be at play.”
‘Botswana should be a knowledge based economy…’
Matlhaope continued to state that as EFB, they are concerned that our nation has at one point been at the top with regard to statistics on HIV infection and yet we have not seen this translate into knowledge and technology transfer. He maintained: “going forward, we should see ourselves being assertive to becoming a knowledge and technological base of the world where anti-retroviral treatment and new strategies are locally produced and initiated.”
Concerned about Botswana as the most unequal state…
In addition he said it is also a concern to have a country like Botswana where majority of the population are Christians and yet are the third most un-equal country in the world. “Either we are professing Christian values of equality and equity but are not practical in our commitment to these Christian values. Despite strides being made to eradicate poverty, we are concerned that those graduating from poverty remain in the peripheries which make them susceptible to fall back into poverty bracket.”
On unemployment yet educated youth..
As a nation, he added that we are faced with growing rates of unemployment especially amongst the educated youth. He said this is a serious concern since an educated unemployed youth is a recipe to sophisticated crimes, undesired behaviors, target of transient foreign and evil cultures and socio-economic retrogression.
EFB boasts of a membership of denominations and organisations which have member branches across the country. Currently EFB membership stands at 79 and the voice of EFB is collective of this membership. The EFB is also a member of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, the World Evangelical Fellowship and the Botswana Council of NGOs (BOCONGO).
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.