OAIC distances itself from Moswaane
FRANCISTOWN: Tension is brewing between the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) and the Francistown Christian community over the legal intervention spearheaded by former Mayor, Ignatius Moswaane, against the churches that are facing eviction for illegal squatting.
This follows the petitioning of the Francistown City Council (FCC) by a temporary platform which comprises among other church leaders, Bishop Brown Khupe of Jerusalem Bethesda Church of Christ in Zion and Bishop Meshack Mongochini of Nations 12 Apostle Nazareth Church.
Moswaane is at the forefront of the temporary platform, which through Olatotse Attorneys, sought court intervention to counter the evictions. His involvement has now divided the Christian community amid accusations that it disrupted their plans to reconcile with FCC. OAIC argues that Moswaane just wants to gain political mileage and in a letter they wrote to FCC, distancing themselves from him as well as the legal intervention instituted against FCC.
OAIC president, Tebogo Motlhagodi told Northcast that as a registered spiritual organisation, they have nothing to do with politics as it can bring instability within the Christian community. He dismissed the Moswaane led temporary platform, contending that it is illegal because it is not registered. “We told the church leaders who have associated themselves with the legal battle to desist from that because Moswaane is misleading them. We are not fighting the Council so we cannot allow that legal battle as it will ruin our relationship,” Motlhagodi said.
Moswaane has contended that he intervened because unlike OAIC, he has the interests of the churches at heart. “We are not part of OAIC so they cannot tell us what to do because we are the ones who are experiencing problems of land in Francistown. We are a temporary platform that is fighting for the rights of churches, so OAIC should not claim to have the interests of the Christian community while they have long failed to advocate for these churches to source land,” Moswaane argued.
He said that he would not be intimidated because all former Francistown Mayors were aware of the issue but still failed to resolve it as there were no clear guidelines set for the applications for plots. “Ever since the establishment of this town, churches have been congregating in these open spaces; why does FCC want to claim that the churches are occupying the land illegally while they failed to come up with alternatives,” he said.
Reached for comment, Francistown Mayor, James Kgalajwe confirmed that they had scheduled for a meeting with OAIC in order to reconcile and find ways of assisting the squatting churches. He said though they still maintain their position of evicting them, they are still willing to talk to OAIC. “Since the Christian community is remorseful, our suggestion is to designate some open spaces and give churches temporary leases, and this will apply only to churches that comply with the rules and regulations of the societies,” he said.