Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana and its affiliate, Family of God, have dragged Bakgatla Paramount Chief Kgafela Kgafela II and his younger brother, Mmusi Kgafela, to court demanding that the church be reinstated in Kgatleng urgently.
The case is set for hearing tomorrow (Monday) afternoon before High Court judge David Newman. In its filed court papers, the churches want the court to declare that the Bakgatla paramount chief has no legal authority to expel the churches or any of its members from Kgatleng.
Last week the family of God church was banned from worshipping in Mochudi by Kgafela following clash with the royal family over a crusade that the church held in Mochudi.
The clash led to the whipping of two of the church’s pastors by Kgafela’s regiments whom it is understood accused the pastors of disrespecting Kgatla law. However, Family of God contends that the whipping of its pastors was in fact an assault as Kgafela and Mmusi have no legal authority over the church’s members.
The church, which is represented by the law firm Bogopa and Manewe Attorneys, want the court to declare that the banning of the church from Kgatleng district was a violation of the church’s right to religion.
Family of God further want the court to declare as unconstitutional an order by the Bakgatla Tribal community regulating church activities within Kgatleng. According to the two churches, the order made by Bakgatla not only overrides the Kgatleng bye-laws but also interferes with church members’s right to religion.
The church wants the Bakgatla royal family to be interdicted from meddling in the church’s activity in Mochudi.
In one of the filed affidavits, one of the church officials says that as a result of the banning, church members are unable to worship. Further he says that the family of God congregation is now unable to attract new members. The church says that it fears that its members will soon lose faith and desert the church if the case is not decided promptly.
At the time of going to press, Kgafela was not available for comment as his mobile phone rang unanswered.