Minister Edwin Batshu says he will meet the fuming evangelical churches body
The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu has said that he will meet evangelical churches to dialogue with them following their petition over the government’s intention to raise the number of people required to register a church from 10 to 250.
In an interview with WeekendPost, Batshu said he recieved a letter of complaint from the churches body, Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB). “I have responded to them in the form of an acknowledgement letter and we have to meet and discuss the issue.” Batshu would not be drawn into discussing the details of the matter. However he indicated that he wants the meeting to bring satisfaction to both parties.
WeekendPost has gathered that the EFB will decide on the next course of action following the meeting with Batshu. The move by the Government also intends to curb too many breakaways, mushrooming of churches and widespread reports of pastors who preach false gospel for commercial reasons.
The EFB is aiming to convince the Government to retrace its steps on the decision as it deems it as an infringement on the freedom of religion and that of association.
The churches had threatened to sue the government on the decision but later decided to dialogue with the Minister with the hope of swaying him to their side. However, it is understood that the EFB will hadly achieve their objective as the president, Lt Gen Ian Khama is also unhappy at the way things have turned out in the pentecostal sect.
His views are that we used to have a few churches in Botswana but today everyone has his own. “Some even have strange and difficult names and most of these church leaders prefer to be referred to as Bishops and will kill you for calling them a priest. I would not be surprised to hear that we also have a pope here in Botswana,” Khama said at one of his meetings with Batlokwa.
The President also said that most of these churches are led by foreigners, most of whom are also owners, adding that you will find someone calling himself a Bishop when he has less than twenty members. “Way back foreign pastors were allowed to stay and work in Botswana without permits but that was back then when we ran short of qualified ministers. We are working around the clock to address these matters,” he said.
The evangelical churches have been accused of, among others, claiming miraculous healing and stealing from the poor as well as promoting mushrooming of churches through splitting.
The mainline churches are reported to have had a hand in the decision and recently publicised their support for the decision. They have been alamingly losing membership in to newly established churches that preach prosperity, miraculous healing, marriage and employment prophesies among others.
Pundits however say the church bodies may remain polarised even in the future on issues of national interest. The EFB has been critical on the government and other partners around several issues.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.