MASUNGA: Kgosi Thabo Masunga Maruje III has joined a swelling rank of leaders who believe that Botswana is a Christian state.
When giving his welcome remarks at the launch of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidate for Tati West constituency, Tshepo Makhani, Maruje strongly shot down suggestions by some that Botswana is a secular state.
Maruje, who has featured prominently in most political activities in his area of recent, said the foundation of the country is entirely built around the principles and ideals of Christianity.
Maruje highlighted that in 2015 he attended Apostel Johnson Sulman’s crusade in Gaborone. He said that Sulman gave a prophecy that there will be a new servant who will lead Botswana to greater prosperity. In his remarks, he insinuated that if indeed UDC president Duma Boko turns out to be the servant to lead the country into prosperity after the 2019 general elections, he should declare Botswana a Christian state. Additionally, should Boko ascend to power as prophesied he should ensure that Batswana seriously uphold the ideals of Christianity.
“If that man was speaking of God (that Boko will be president) by the Holy Spirit sir (Boko) the mantra that says that this country is a secular state is not correct. Botswana is a Christian state. I humbly plead with you to look at this issue (declaring Botswana a Christian state and ensuring that Batswana seriously uphold the ideals of Christianity) seriously (should Sulman’s prophecy be true).”
Maruje insinuated that Botswana has experienced moral decay in recent years as a result of the growing levels of citizens who do not value the importance of having a family and upholding the principles of Christianity.
He said that leaders could correct the anomaly if they openly promote Botswana as a Christian state and encouraging citizens to live by ideals of the religion as well as embracing the spirit of having a family.
He further explained, “The foundation of this nation is on the family.
A family is where you build morally upright people. But today Batswana no longer embrace having a family. That is a mistake sir.”
At the 2015 crusade at Ditshupo Hall it was widely reported that Sulman, a Nigerian prophet picked Boko from the crowd and told him his time had come to be president of Botswana, saying, “God would send Botswana a Moses”.
He reportedly said that Boko would be the country’s equivalent of the biblical Moses who freed the Israelites from the bondage of the Egyptians. According to media reports the prophet also claimed that a week before the Nigerian presidential polls, he visited former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and told him he was going to lose the elections, advising him not to contest his loss. Jonathan would go on and lose the elections.
A few years later Gaborone North Member of Parliament, Haskins Nkaigwa pleaded with government to declare Botswana a Christian state since the nation has a Christian majority. His reasons were more similar to those of Maruje.
The government shunned Nkaigwa’s request. The then Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu noted that Botswana is not ready to have a state-sponsored religion. He said that government prefers to be neutral when it comes to matters of religion, but acknowledged that as a nation, Botswana is currently deeply influenced by Christian values.
The minister also explained that members of other religions would feel discriminated against should government openly prefer Christianity. Opinion is deeply divided on turning Botswana into a Christian state.
Some Batswana share sentiments raised by Nkaigwa and Maruje while others have adopted the position of the government.