St John appeals Ketlogetswe judgment

St John members
St John members

FRANCISTOWN: Some members of the St John’s Apostolic Mission Church of Botswana executive leadership, is appealing against Justice Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe’s recent ruling which restored Melittah Ndubano as the archbishop of the church.

The church also commonly known as St John has been plagued by a leadership battle ever since the death of its leader archbishop Andrew Ndubano on July 26, 2021. Melittah is the daughter of Andrew and sources close to the church say that one of her close relatives is eyeing to take over as the archbishop of the church.

In their grounds of appeal filed at the Court of Appeal (CoA), the section of the church through its attorney Mishingo Jeremiah say that court a quo erred in entering final judgment without assessing evidence. They also say that the lower court erred in finding that the appellant (Melittah) had made a case worthy of the granting of the orders that she prayed for.

The aggrieved members of the church executive leadership also want the CoA to declare that Melittah should pay the costs of the suit. In their application of stay of execution pending appeal, the section of the church leadership wants the decision of the lower court to be stayed pending appeal because the position of archbishop of St John, a church with more than 13,000 members with branches across Botswana, is permanent.

Their contention is that Melittah as the spiritual leader of the church and main person responsible for healing, it is therefore, in the best interests of the church that the position of archbishop of the church should not be held by a person whose suitability is still in doubt or still being challenged. The apeallant's contention is further that Melittah has never held any position in the church that qualifies her to be the archbishop of the church. They added that it is therefore, in the best interests of the church that the status quo should be maintained pending appeal.

"If this matter is not stayed, the appellant say that Ketlogetswe’s judgment will take effect immediately and Melittah would take over as the church’s archbishop while her legitimacy to lead the church is still in doubt," they pleaded.

On the other hand, Melittah says that she was a bishop before she was appointed by her father Andrew to the position of archbishop. Melittah says that her appointment as archbishop of the St John on July 4, 2020 was not done secretly and was never queried by any member of the church’s executive committee just like other appointments that were made by his late father on that day (July 4, 2020). Melittah also does not want her appointment to be stayed pending appeal because it was legitimately done in the presence of other senior members of the church. Melittah also says that if the CoA rules that she is not the legitimate archbishop of St John, she would gracefully readily relinquish her position. At the hearing of the matter on Tuesday, Ketlogetswe asked attorneys of the applicant and respondent to file heads of argument in terms of Order 31 of the Rules of the High Court of Botswana (default of pleading).

Attorney Morgan Moseki represents Melittah.

Editor's Comment
Routine child vaccination imperative

The recent Vaccination Day in Motokwe, orchestrated through collaborative efforts between UNICEF, USAID, BRCS, and the Ministry of Health, underscores a commendable stride towards fortifying child health services.The painful reality as reflected by the Ministry of Health's data regarding the decline in routine immunisation coverage since the onset of the pandemic, is a cause for concern.It underscores the urgent need to address the...

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