Mmegi Online :: ZCC merger backfires
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Last Updated
Friday 17 November 2017, 19:00 pm.
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ZCC merger backfires

Five branches of Zion Christian Church (ZCC) in Botswana have taken their church to court opposing a directive from the Right Reverend Bishop Barnabas Edward Lekganyane that branches should merge.
By Ryder Gabathuse Bame Piet Tsaone Basimanebotlhe Fri 08 Sep 2017, 17:11 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: ZCC merger backfires








The directive applied in areas where there were more than one branches. It seems the directive for a merger has bitterly divided the church to the extent that former church mates are no longer in talking terms. The rivalry as articulated by the spiritual leader of ZCC, Lekganyane recently has a potential of tarnishing the good image of the church that was founded in 1910.

Addressing his members at a special general meeting in Palapye last month, Lekganyane indicated that the merging of the branches is a precursor to answering the call to have a church minister in Botswana. For example, in Gaborone, Phase II branch is supposed to merge with Extension 14 branch and become Gaborone City ZCC FO93 branch. This according to the church authorities will enable a committee, which is tasked to take care of all Botswana branches to monitor them well. The committee chaired by former permanent secretary, Louis Malikongwa and known as Consensus Building and Mediation Team (CBMT) is charged with the responsibilities of amongst others ensuring a smooth merging of branches and dealing with all other related issues.

Unfortunately, some ZCC leaders of branches are unhappy with the process of merging branches and have since approached the courts seeking an order to reverse the decision taken by the CBMT and the ZCC Bishop to be set aside.

The ZCC has 92 branches in eight districts of Botswana which all report to the CBMT for the purposes of merging branches. In their urgent application, the applicants want the respondents which are Malikongwa, nine others and ZCC to show cause why the orders they are seeking for could not be final.  The applicants leading the branches are in the matter Isaiah Sekai (Selibe-Phikwe), Scara Gideon (Mahalapye), Mbuziwa Toteng (Aerodrome), Boyboy Motsilenyane (Phase II) and Emmauel Mozingwane (Maun).

The respondents want the court to restrain the respondents from interfering with their duties of the local executive in each branch including Newstance, Mahalapye, Aerodrome, Phase II and Maun.

They also want the court to reverse any changes introduced in their branches immediately.  The

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applicants further seek interim relief pending finalisation of investigation by the Bishop as per part III of the constitution of the ZCC.  Bishop Lekganyane wrote to the church members in Botswana that the church shall oppose the application and the new orders should effect in all branches.

The letters says, “Gomme lekgotla la dikereke le ile la laela general secretary ya kereke gore a ganetse (oppose) court order yeo ka ge e hlola hlaka hlakano mo kerekeng e bile e sitisa (kgoreletsa) mosomo CBMT yeo e romilwego ke beng ba kereke (The church board has ordered general secretary of the ZCC to oppose the court order because it brings confusion in the church and it also affects the business of the CBMT that has been mandated by the church leadership).”

Efforts to try to bring peace and stability amongst some branches of ZCC in Botswana seem to have failed. Last year, ZCC Bishop appointed the mediation team whose purpose was to reduce or eliminate tension between Extension 14 and Phase II branches in order to foster good working relationship and to further facilitate process of building confidence and trust between the two branches.  Mmegi has learnt that some members of the Phase II branch are steadfast that they would not merge with Extension 14 and want their branch to run independent of Extension 14. Efforts to solicit comments from of the pastors at the helm of the Phase II branch, Frankel Sebego, could not bear fruit, as he was unwilling to speak on their mission.

“I don’t know anything,” was all he could muster although he is one of the trio pastors who have been suspended from performing any duties associated with the branch. Benson Letang and Seager Boitshwarelo are also suspended pastors from Phase II.

Even the ZCC general secretary based in Moria, South Africa was in no mood to respond to media inquiries.“I am sorry, I cannot comment on those questions,” Ephraim Mafetsa, ZCC general secretary said to Mmegi from the church headquarters in a telephone interview before hanging up.

 

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