Two names have been shortlisted for the appointment of the newly established Diocese of Francistown after the transfer of Bishop Frank Nabuasah, this publication has learnt. Highly placed sources within the Catholic Church have confirmed that the Vatican following a recommendation from the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) has decided to appoint Bishop Nabuasah as the bishop of the troubled Diocese of Gaborone. Nabuasah, Ghanaian native who has been the bishop of Francistown, was appointed the Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Gaborone last year after the resignation of Bishop Emeritus Valentine Seane. His pastoral schedule for the year has raised speculation that he is slowly preparing himself to take the hot Holy seat at Christ the King Cathedral at the heart of the main mall. “All the major church events he will celebrate them this side especially Ash Wednesday, Chrism Mass, Easter Triduum and will also have a pilgrimage with the laity this side,” revealed a source. Interestingly, it is during the Chrism Mass that all the priests renew their vows, especially that of obedience to the bishop. One of the reasons for opting for appointing him is his rich experience with the local church and understanding of the challenges affecting the diocese, said a source. A disciplinarian of note, Nabuasah is expected to bring order to the diocese which is polarised.
The church is said to have recommended Father Sylvester Kaemana – a Diocesan priest based in Serowe – to take over as the bishop of Francistown. Last week Kaemana was appointed Vicar General (Pastoral) for the Diocese of Francistown, a move seen by many as a way of preparing him for the bigger job. According to the canon law, a Vicar General is a legitimately deputised assistant to a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction over an entire diocese. With 25 years of experience as a priest, Kaemana – who hails from Francistown’s low cost area of Kgaphamadi – did his priestly training in Zimbabwe. He is viewed as one of the few local priests who are not involved in the dirty religious politics which saw Bishop Seane resigning. During the silver jubilee celebration for Fr Kaemana in November last year, Bishop Nabuasah hailed him as one of the priests who have been exemplary in the church. “To be a priest is to stand against the flow of things. To be a priest is to choose God above all other people and things on earth. Unfortunately some of us do not live to the standard expected. The life of Fr Sylvester can be summed up in three words – vocation, priesthood and finding Christ,” said Bishop Nabuasah.
He described Fr. Sylvester as a happy priest who is committed to God and the church and one who depends not on human beings but on the Lord. “That’s what we are celebrating today. A happy priesthood that can be holy and full of the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said during the celebration last year. Nabuasah revealed that Fr. Sylvester once contemplated leaving priesthood due to frustration but he sent him to Rome for further studies. Another candidate is the Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Pretoria Father Robert Mphiwe, a South African citizen. Communications Officer at the Archdiocese of Pretoria Father Mathibela Sebothoma took to the social media describing Fr. Mphiwe as the darling of the Archbishop William Slattery and Bishop Dabula Mpako. “Bishops Abel Gabuza and Dabula Mpako served the same parishes where Fr. Mphiwe is. Maybe a principle of principle,” he wrote on his Facebook. He questioned if the local clergy and sisters of Calvary were consulted before the recommendations were made. Sources within the church have revealed that the church is ready to announce the changes within the church in Botswana as the vacuum is polarising the church.