Connect with us

Fire churches plan to take Govt to court

OAIC president, Tebogo Motlhagodi

Government has taken a strong decision to control the multiplication by way of registration of new churches by amending the Societies Act. According to the latest government gazette, a new church will require 250 members to register. This is a steep increase from the previous fuigure of ten (10). Evangelical churches argue that the new figure is unreasonable and almost impossible to achieve.

The government has gazetted the decision, this followed lenghthy consultation process with stakeholders. Other societies other than churches will now need a minimum of twenty members (20) to register from the previous ten while churches will need 250 or more. It is understood that the move is calculated to remedy the government’s failed attempt to regulate and monitor societies.

The Societies Act has all along recognised a society as any club, company, partnership or association of 10 or more persons, whatever its nature or objects. The move by the government intends to curb too many breakaways, mushrooming of churches and widespread reports of pastors who preach false gospel for commercial reasons.

Of the three Umbrella bodies representing the church in Botswana, two agree with the government decision while one, the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) posits that the decision by the government to increase the registration eligibility number from 10 to 250 is not only unreasonable but also impractical – hence a constitutional infringement on the people’s freedom of religion and association. A new church, they say, cannot have 250 members when even long-existing churches do not have that number.

They are saying they are still considering taking legal action to challenge the decision at the courts. The church body, it is understood, met with their lawyers on Wednesday to discuss the issue. EFB president, Rev Master Matlhaope said he was not ready to comment on the issue.

The Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), president, Tebogo Motlhagodi said they together as the churches Umbrella bodies proposed the change to the government. “We proposed the issue to the government together with that one of a religious council to cover matters of the gospel because it was clear that the government was failing alone,” he said.

Motlhagodi stressed that his churches no longer want any new church registered as there are enough churches for the nation to attend. “In the churches I lead we have over 600 congregations, EFB has over 500 and the same applies to mainline churches. What more do people want,” he charged.

His views are shared by Botswana Council of Churches leader, Rev Mpho Moruakgomo who says the move is intended to curb unnecessary breakaways among other things. He however concurs with EFB that the increase in number might make it difficult and impossible to register a new church. “We will be there watching, if we learn that it is difficult to register new churches we will after some time summon the government and review the decision,” said the BCC president.

Should EFB challenge the decision, observers say the case may have similarities with that of the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) against government where the state may be forced to register a movement or organisation by the courts.

Renowned University of Botswana academic, Rev Dr.Obed Kealotswe commended the government’s decision saying it was long overdue.

“Three years back I was invited by BTV with my colleague Rev Dumie Mualefe. We made a very strong recommendation that one way by which the proliferation of churches could be controlled is by separating the registration of churches from that of ordinary societies. I had recommended at least a hundred people instead of ten members,” he said.

He said: “If the Government has recommended 250, as long as measures will be put in place to make sure that unregistered churches are monitored since they are the ones which bring many problems to the Christian and non- Christian communities in Botswana.”

 However, he said the government should take note of the fact that there are some other world religions which are not Christian. “Members of such faiths could not be as many as those of the Christian faith. Some provision should be provided for such faiths. As a conclusion, I wholeheartedly support the amendment,” he said.

Continue Reading


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.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading


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.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading