FRANCISTOWN: The squatting churches that have been facing impending demolishing and eviction has breathed a sigh of relief after the Francistown City Council (FCC) resolved to revert its decision of evicting them.
The Christian community has been at loggerheads with the FCC leadership over the latter’s decision to evict all squatting churches. The development at one point prompted churches to threaten legal action against FCC, which they later withdrew.
Though the FCC was recently given a go ahead by the High Court to evict the churches, Botswana Democratic Party Secretary General, Mpho Balopi revealed over the weekend that government has reversed the decision to evict the squatting churches until they find a permanent solution.
“Upon realisation that Francistown is faced with acute shortage of land, the City leadership recently met the Minister of Lands and Housing to discuss this issue surrounding the churches. So the leadership has agreed to make a u-turn on the impending eviction of squatting churches,” Balopi said during the official launch of Francistown East candidate, Buti Billy.
Reached for comment, Francistown Mayor, James Kgalajwe confirmed the development, saying after a thorough consultation with the Ministry, they resolved to reverse the decision of evicting squatting churches. “It is true the Council will no longer evict the squatting churches because we have been in consultation with church leaders and the Ministry about the challenges surrounding them,” he said.
Vice President of Organisation of Africa Institute of Churches (OAIC), Robert Maluke also confirmed the new development on the issue. “We are pleased because for some time we have been pleading with the Council leadership to re-think their decision. We are now happy because they recently informed us that they have withdrawn the issue. We are relieved because we will now congregate freely,” said Maluke.