F/town cllrs threaten protests

SHARE   |   Monday, 11 September 2017   |   By Shingirai Madondo
Kgalajwe Kgalajwe

Francistown City Council (FCC) councilors have vowed to take to the streets to register their displeasure at the way authorities are treating squatting spiritual and healing churches in the city. Civic leaders are up in arms with the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services’ Regional Land Officer, Kaone Malgas after she recently ordered Manyoloi Apostolic Church to vacate the land. In a letter dated August 29 2017, Malgas gave Manyoloi thirty days to have vacated the land, saying the church had illegally occupied it. Failure to oblige was to result with the matter referred to Attorney General (AG) chambers for legal action. “We have checked all the allocation records and there is no evidence that you (the church) were allocated the piece of land that you are currently occupying. You are occupying state land illegally without any formal allocation,” reads part of the letter. Supporting an urgent motion moved by Tshwaragano ward councilor, Gaone Majere which sought to stop the ministry from evicting churches that have occupied state land illegally until alternative space had been found for them, councilors vowed to fight in the churches’ corner. “Churches are there to offer solace to the troubled members of the society. And most of the churches in Francistown are squatting due to land shortage,” charged James Kgalajwe, a specially elected councilor. Kgalajwe said government must not forget that Francistown has been growing, thanks to squatters. He said most of the people who have been granted land were once squatters. He said it is difficult for spiritual healing churches to raise the money needed to tender for land as most of them are very poor because their members cannot even tithe. “It is easy for mainline churches such as Roman Catholic, Anglican and Seventh Day Adventist, not our African churches. So, they should not be evicted. If the ministry dares to evict, we will be left with no choice but to protest in the streets,” he said. Specially elected councilor Zazambi Tuelo rhetorically asked: “Gatwe Jeso o senyeditse eng, mang mo le fatsheng la Botswana (What sin did Jesus commit in Botswana and to who)?” He said he will join Kgalajwe and other concerned civic leaders in protesting against the eviction of churches in Francistown. Satellite North ward councilor, Oratile Tumedi said worshipers’ rights should not be trampled on.