The Evangelist Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) has launched a scornful attack on the leadership of the country saying those calling for legalization of homosexuality, prostitution and abortion should start to rethink their stand.
The EFB leader Master Matlhaope told the WeekendPost this week that EFB continues to caution the nation “particularly those in leadership to uphold the righteous standards set by our forefathers”.
He said “the standards they set includes but are not limited to criminalizing homosexuality, prostitution and abortion. Those calling for the legalization of these should be warned and advised to think otherwise,” he warned.
Former president Festus Mogae has on several occasions made known his views that homosexuality and sex work be decriminalized in Botswana to assist curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS, as various studies identified them as catalysts to the scourge. Recently, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso told parliament of her support for abortion and called for its legalization.
Human Rights lawyers such as Uyapo Ndadi has also advocated for the decriminilisation of homosexuality and prostitution, saying they were fundamental rights of any human being and also personal choices that no one including government should temper with.
Homosexuality According to the EFB, homosexuality is foreign to our nation and above all regarded as an abomination in the Bible. The umbrella of ‘fire churches’ stated that they are encouraged by the government’s appeal of the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) registration case. “Homosexuality, criminalized in our penal code must remain as such and the practice should boldly be discouraged,” EFB contends.
Prostitution The EFB leader also posits that prostitution which is often color coded-sex work- dehumanizes people. He says it takes away dignity and replaces it with shame, and that is why even those calling for its legalization cannot dare their daughters practice it let alone do it themselves. “It sentences a woman to the life of shame in the present, and secures her for eternal hell fire after final judgment,” he added.
Matlhaope highlighted that they believe in the inherent value of a woman, “she is a living being not a commodity, a nation builder, a life carrier and life’s shelter, a protector, a nurturer, a home maker, a wife, a mother and a sister, above all she has the imago dei (the image of God). Her price is the blood of the Son of God.”
The outspoken pastor declared that: “we call those calling for legalization for prostitution to desist and to respect the value and dignity of women.”
Abortion According to the pastor, human life takes precedence to personal privacy. We do not have the right to privately kill another human being, he says. “We call for the protection of human life, born and unborn.”
He however added, “In a pregnancy situation, we have two lives-the life of the woman and the life of the unborn child and both are human with potentialities. Under normal circumstances, a woman would have right to do as she wants with her body of course within the boundaries of acceptable behavior, and when she carries another life, we have two lives both of which have right to live. None of these two lives have the right to take the life of the other. Only when one is under threat can there be tampering to save the other.”
Satanism The EFB leader also raised concerns about the escalation of Satanism activity and behaviour in public schools and the use of drugs and substance abuse amongst the youth, juvenile deliquincies as well as breaking down of families and increasing HIV infections. He made relevance to the Thamaga incidence which resulted in an innocent elderly woman being murdered by a gang.
“We have evidenced an increase in corrupted sexual morals, infiltration of anti-societal norms, road carnages and all these behaviors, call for intensified prayer and evangelism efforts, which is why we call all EFB churches and those subscribing to the evangelical doctrine of regeneration to intensify evangelism effort,” he said.
Democratic intolerance The EFB also points out that they are disheartened by voices of intolerance in the national space. He pointed out, “In a democracy such as ours, they say everyone has the right to express his or her views. They add that it is also enshrined in our culture and norm as Batswana expressed in Tswana idioms such as; “mafoko a kgotla a mantle otlhe, mmualebeo abo a bua la gagwe gore monalentle a le tswe”.
Motlhaope said that there were topical issues that are debated varying from economy, arts, and traditional renaissances and said that EFB encouraged healthy debates as they are important for the development of the country. “We have however noted that at times when EFB within its space as a faith based institution speak on issues of morality, we are faulted as being intolerant. We wish to state that intolerance to EFB’s opinion is also intolerance and should equally be condemned,” he added.
Corruption On the issue of corruption, he said that the EFB encourages all in leadership as well as all citizens and residents to do all it takes to ensure Zero tolerance for corruption. “We pledge our prayer and support to His Excellency the President of Botswana and encourage him to continually take all action required against corruption to set the right tone from the top,” the EFB leader stated.
Vision 2016 Matlhaope reminded citizens that with only a year left before reaching 2016, and the 50th independence anniversary, all should exert more effort in the realisation of the Vision. “We are now less than a year towards the end of 2016, our 50th Independence anniversary where we have set a clear vision of what as nation we wish to be. We therefore urge every Motswana to redouble his or her effort for the realization of the vision. We also pray that God continues to assist us to realize this noble goal.”
WeekendPost understands that during the 2014 elections, the candid EFB in unison with the Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) and the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) set up an Observer Mission and fully participated in observing the General Elections.
As such, the leader cautioned elected leaders that: “we believe those elected are both within the perfect will and the permissive will of God. We urge all the legislators to ensure that the will of God is sacrosanct in their mandate and ensure that morality guides legislation. We pledge our prayers for our legislators. Whilst the legislators are totally free to express their views and vote according to their good consciences, we hold them accountable to remember what they promised the electorate, what the electorate holds in high regard and what the electorate abhors.”
EFB is an umbrella of ‘fire churches’ which are evangelical, Pentecostal and Para church organisations in the country. It 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 Fellowship holds that leaders who support same sex relationships, abortion and sex work will have a ruth awakening from the church movement, however, the assertion clashes with some of the leaders who have publicly declared their support for the individual choices with regard to abortion, prostitution and homosexuality.
Law society of Botswana (LSB) Chairman Lawrence Lecha also told this publication in a brief interview that churches are taking it too far and now trampling on the rights of others. “That is a very unfortunate statement by the EFB. Our constitution is clear that there shall be no discrimination of any kind, be it religion, gender and/or sexual orientation,” he lambasted.
“Churches are entitled to their opinions and religion (Christianity) as is the case with other religions such as Islam, Hinduism for example.” As human rights advocate, LSB stated that they will advocate, defend and protect the rights of other people. The issue of human rights, Lecha says is an international phenomenon that every being is entitled to – as long as it does not trample on the rights of others. EFB is entitled to their views and we are entitled to ours as well, they cannot impose their views on other people, he said.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.