- ZCC Bishop asks WUC boss Masire to disconnect ‘unruly churches’
- “We do not take orders from Lekganyane” – Masire
Water Utilities Cooperation (WUC) Chief Executive Officer Mmetla Masire has rejected a bizarre order from Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane to disconnect water from unruly congregations of the ZCC in a bid designed to coerce them into submission.
This development is the product of growing dissent by member congregations who are challenging the direction the church is talking.
In the letter Lekganyane wrote to Masire, he wants 13 branches, namely Molepolole Ntsweng, Molepolole Lekgwapeng, Mahalapye Herero, Letlhakane Rainwater, Rakops Tsienyane, Maun Botshabelo, Maun Matlapaneng, Mochudi Ntshinoge, Nata Phase 1, Maitengwe Mpapo, Francistown Aereodrome, Selibe Phikwe Newstance and Sefhare Maifala disconnected as they have apparently been closed.
“The branches have been closed and no church activity is taking place at these sites. No church members shall congregate at these churches to worship at these sites since they have been closed,” warned Lekganyane about the disconnection which extends to electricity.
WUC boss Masire confirmed receiving the letter but was quick to point out that they do not take orders ‘beyond our borders’ “unless there are reasonable justifications for such demands or calls. There are processes to be followed when disconnecting water and the order was not one of them,” he said, adding that they were not convinced by Lekganyane’s reasons.
Masire said as far as they are concerned, the churches can deal with WUC through their local representatives. “We don’t take instructions from Moria, unless dictated so by circumstances as was the case with Selibe Phikwe where we recently disconnected. Selibe Phikwe was rocked by factions and it was confusing and difficult to deal with them so we sought advice from Moria and we were advised accordingly,” he said, explaining that the corporation does not have issues with the named branches. Masire however said they would continue the working relationship they have always had with the Moria-South Africa headquartered church.
Members of the defiant ZCC branches say the once revered and holy ZCC Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane “has been infiltrated by rogue and dishonest Mafias who are hell-bent of sowing seeds of discord in the church and brewing infightings by oppressing the masses and going against their wishes”.
These complaints follow the fall out resulting from the Lekganyane sanctioned Consensus Building and Mediation (CBMT) committee which was established to oversee the merging of ZCC branches in a move previously envisaged to bring peace and unity. The CMBT which is led by former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Louis Malikongwa, seems to have had the opposite effect, with the church now divided more than ever.
The biggest war is in Gaborone where Gaborone West (G-West) Phase II ZCC is to be merged with Extension 14 ZCC, both of which are now major branches established many decades ago. The G-West Phase II branch which queries the merger says it has not been provided convincing reasons why the two branches should be merged.
ZCC has another matter before the courts concerning two ‘duplicate’ churches querying each other’s legitimacy, after the same church was erroneously registered twice by government.
Other issues concern the pursuit of autonomy from Moria by some Botswana branches as well the church’s Kganya insurance scheme which the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) has declared unlicensed and illegal.