- Police engaged to shut ECG down
- Church tried to evade receipt of de-registration letter
Enlightened Christian Gathering(EGC), the church of popular televangelist Shepherd Bushiri survived a final de-registration order by a whisker after Lobatse High Court Judge Godfrey Nthomiwa suspended government’s decision to enforce the decision.
Government’s final decision follows an unsuccessful appeal by Bushiri who wrote Nationality Immigration and Gender Affairs minister Edwin Batshu appealing for leniency and promising to comply with the ministry’s demands.
To enforce its decision, government last week sought the escort of Naledi Police Station to deliver the final de-registration order after ECG leadership attempted to stall and evade its receipt. “The matter was reported to us by the officials from the Ministry of Nationality Immigration and Gender Affairs. We were informed that the church leadership is refusing to accept the letter ordering the church to close down. We then accompanied the ministry officials to the church to oversee the process and understand the root-cause of the differences,” confirmed Naledi Police Station Commander Oagile Bolaane.
Bolaane said the church explained that its executive had not yet met lawyers to decide whether or not to receive the order. The ministry was however adamant that they should receive the letter before meeting whomever they wished to meet.
Government’s final order follows a letter in which government had written to ECG seeking it to comply within 30 days or face closure as initially ordered in a December 2017 letter to the church. While the church submitted its financials to the ministry, government found them lacking in many respects.
To entice the church to comply, government through Batshu’s Permanent Secretary, Banny Molosiwa pointed out that it was not interested in shutting the church down and was only forced by its non-compliance.
Outgoing President Ian Khama is on record expressing concern about false prophets who swindle unsuspecting citizens of their hard-earned money. Khama who is said to be keen on the closure of ECG quipped in 2013 at Tlokweng kgotla that, given the influx of charismatic churches, he would not be surprised if it emerged that the Pope was part of the charismatic prophets in Botswana.
Meanwhile The Botswana Gazette understands that the ECG file was moved from the Registrar of Societies to an unknown destination. The file could not be located when this publication sought to peruse it yesterday.