Zion Christian Church Leader Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane has found himself at a logger heads with some member of his church in Botswana. Members of the ZCC in Selibe Phikwe, Mahalapye, Francistown, Gaborone and Maun have successfully restrained the church from merging of the church branches. Five members Isiah Sekai from Selibe Phikwe, Scara Naphtaile Gideon from Mahalapye, Mbuziwa Toteng from Francistown, Boy Motsilenyane from Gaborone and Emmanuel Mozingwae of Maun have successfully applied for the order at Lobatse High Court. Justice Kabelo Lebotse presided over the case and ordered that the branches to operate as they did before the intervention of the respondents – church leadership. “A rule nisi is hereby issued calling upon the above respondents before this Honourable Court on the 8th of November 2017 at 10:30 Hours or soon thereafter as counsel may be heard to show why the following orders should not be made final: directing that the respondents be restrained from interfering with the duties of the local executives of each of the branches,” reads the order. According to the court documents, in 2016 Bishop Lekganyane established Consensus Building and Mediation Team (CBMT) that was chaired by former Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, Lewis Malikongwa. “The intention upon the establishment of the said CBMT was amongst other things to ease administration of the branches on any matters that his Grace the Bishop of the ZCC on any matter that his Grace may need their input, views or consensus relating to church administration,” reads the founding affidavit.
The five branches accuse the CBMT of superseding and overriding the constitution of the ZCC by forcefully confiscating of Kganya stationary thus causing discontent and unrest in the congregation and default in payment. Kganya Benefits Fund Trust was established as a funeral policy for ZCC members. “The decision to merge branches has not only caused discontent and unrest but has also contributed to the ever increasing threat of violence as the congregants believe that their grievances ought to have been addressed first before action was implemented,” read the affidavit. Represented by Attorney Aobakwe Monamo of Duma Boko and Company, the applicants argued that the decision to merge the branches around the country is said to have led to destruction of property (mainly facilities of worship). Attorneys for the respondents have since applied to court to seek for the rescission of the interim order and the stay of operation of the said interim order pending the finalisation of the rescission of judgement application by the applicants. According to the letter from Moria dated April 7, 2017, the decision to merge branches was reached on March 11, 2017 in Palapye by CMBT and was accepted by Bishop Lekganyane. A delegation from Moria is expected to come to Gaborone next week to meet some of the disgruntled church members. “Some of the alleged ring leaders have been summoned to Moria to try and reprimand them,” said the source. Currently there is another case against ZCC and Bishop Lekganyane in which members of the church from Tlokweng are accusing them for breaching the constitution. They want the church to comply with the constitution and account for the church proceedings.