Kgosi Kgafela and his regiments do not have any legal or administrative authority to impose civil or criminal reprimand upon the Family of God Church (FoG) or other affiliates of the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB).
In an interim ruling issued yesterday following an urgent application by both the EFB, as the first applicant and FoG, as the second applicant, Justice David Newman of the High Court ordered Kgafela and his regiments to lay their hands off the Family of God Church and all evangelical and Pentecostal churches in Kgatleng. Kgafela was cited as 1st respondent in the matter, his brother Mmusi was cited as the second respondent and Morafe was cited as the 3rd respondent, represented by Kgafela.
The application came after Kgafela's representatives closed FoG down last week.
Justice Newman said that in banning the FoG from worshiping in Kgatleng, Kgafela and his mephato acted wrongfully, unlawfully and violated FoG's constitutional rights pertaining to worship.
" ...The 1st Respondent's banning or interdicting the 2nd Applicant from engaging in any church activities in the Kgatleng Administrative District of Botswana is wrongful, unlawful and amounts to violation of the 2nd Applicant's constitutional right of conscience, freedom of thought and religion as guaranteed by the Constitution of Botswana, " the court ruled.
Kgafela and his mephato or any person representing him have also been ordered not to prevent members of the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana from freely worshipping in Kgatleng.
"...The order by members of the 3rd respondent led by the 1st Respondent prohibiting the conduct of any church activity of members of the 1st and 2nd Applicant in the Kgatleng District every day at 18:00 hours is wrongful, unlawful
Moreover, the order interdicts and restrains Kgafela and mephato or anybody acting on Kgafela's or his brother, Mmusi's instructions from interfering with whatever Church activities of any member churches of the EFB, including FoG in the whole of Kgatleng.
Furthermore, Justice Newman ruled that Kgafela and his mephato do not have the legal authority to expel any of the Applicants and any of its members from the Kgatleng Administrative District.
"Pending the determination of this application, each applicant shall within the confines of the law, be entitled to freedom of assembly and association, and to manifest and propagate its religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance within the Kgatleng Administrative District of Botswana," concludes Justice Newman.
While Mmusi, who was present in court, reached an amicable settlement out of court with the EFB and FoG, it remains to be seen if Kgafela, representing both himself and the Morafe from which the mephato come, will challenge the application.
He has been advised, in the event that Kgafela wishes to oppose, to file the relevant papers with the Court by May 4, 2010.
The order is returnable on June 16, 2010. Attorney Busang Manewe represented the Applicants while Sadique Kebonang represented only Mmusi Pilane. Kgafela and the Bakgatla Community were not respresented.