Constant fighting and scramble for power at Guta Ra Mwari have become the order of the day as the local church now intends to face its members before the court of law.
Guta Ra Mwari church in Botswana has now taken some of its members to court again with the intention of interdicting them from conducting themselves as members of the church.
The church that was founded in 1964 in Zimbabwe and headquartered in Bulawayo, operates here only as a branch and has no autonomy from the mother church.
On August 30, 2016 the branch filed a notice of motion before the Gaborone High Court seeking that eight members cited in the legal proceedings as respondents stop identifying themselves as members of the church and quit worshipping under the church banner.
The eight members, Caxton Senyatso, Joel Kelebemang, Kgalemang Mothudi, Kuda Mathambo, Sethapa Mathiba, Shirley Golekanye, Festus Tyibilika and Bushi Kenosi who are all former members of the church’s national council, are allegedly refusing to hand over power to the new council and still act as members.
The church, in its documents, alleged they have tried to resolve the matter amicably before being forced to take the litigation route.
The church’s national council chairperson, Ogomoditse Billy’s founding affidavit stated that the church’s supreme council passed a resolution for the local church to litigate against the members. Billy said the eight members who have brought the church into disrepute have long ceased to be members of the council - since 2008 - but still refuse to hand over power and the church’s assets.
He revealed that the church and the members have been warring since the death of the mother church’s overseer, refered to as holy host, in December 2003.
“Pursuant to the holy host’s death, no successor has been appointed up to this time. As a result, the mother church has been plagued by anarchy and catastrophe leading to warring factions in the church, with one faction purporting to be superintendent and
Billy said the constant feuds, both at the mother church in Zimbabwe and branches, heated up until the local branch rushed to High Court and later Court of Appeal.
He pointed out that in that litigation the authority of the supreme council was challenged and certain individuals wanted detachment and autonomy of the local church from its control.
“The Court of Appeal on July 30, 2008 held that the local church was under the direct authority and supervision of the supreme council and therefore it did not enjoy any autonomy from the mother church,” read the affidavit.
Billy argued that following the judgement, the supreme council met and dissolved all committees of the local church whereupon the eight members ceased to be members of the national council.
He said despite that, the eight members continually refused to relinquish and submit to the authority of the church.
His affidavit further stated that the failure by the respondents to submit to the authority, and to hand over the assets of the church, have resulted in patent difficulties and created challenges in the governance and administration of the church’s affairs as well as the conduct of worship.
The church is now seeking a final interdict saying the warring factions had led to a state of anarchy and that it should not be allowed.
Among other things, the church wants the respondents interdicted from acting in such a manner suggesting they are a branch of the church, and holding prayer meetings or any other service on behalf of the church.
Furthermore, the church wants the respondents to stop making financial transactions representing the church in any way, hand over church assets and cease using symbols of worship and regalia.