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Batshu meets enraged fire churches

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.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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