Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) national executive committee (NEC) has closed its Gaborone branch despite the courts having allowed them to continue operating while they awaited a Court of Appeal decision.
The church is entangled in a bitter war with the government, and was de-registered late last year for amongst other things, not submitting audited financial results for two financial years.
The church went on to challenge the court decision and was given a lifeline to open pending review application. The High Court then ruled that the church should indeed be de-registered. They were however yet again given a lifeline pending a CoA decision.
According to the church secretary, Pelotshweu Baeng, they decided to close the church temporarily to get their house in order.
“We have suspended five of the leaders at the church as we note that they have been causing trouble for the church. Even though we do not agree with being deregistered, we accept that we committed some wrongs due to the leaders. We now want to correct everything,” he said. Baeng said they have since opened branches in areas like Mmopane, Lobatse, Tlokweng and other places where people were coming from to fellowship in Gaborone.
He said they have terminated the lease agreement for the church and informed
Baeng said they suspended leaders at a meeting last weekend to make way for investigations. “They have messed up our church and we cannot let it continue. The church is in debt of more than P500,000 but people make contributions everyday. We need to know where the money has been going,” he said. Baeng said the suspended members have been fighting to get back reports submitted to auditors, stating that they preferred different auditors.
Baeng further said controversial Prophet Onkabetse Phitshane who had been at the helm of the church in Botswana left the church shortly after being transferred to South Africa.
Phitshane is said to be planning to open his own church. Phitshane’s phone rang unanswered.
The church has been having an unfriendly relationship with the government for a long period.
In May last year, Bushiri was slapped with a Visa requirement that led to his failure to come for his major church service at the National Stadium in Gaborone.