Thursday, September 24, 2020

Government gets tough on dubious pastors, churches

Botswana may soon start screening pastors and church ministers coming to into the country in a bid to curb the influx of bogus pastors and preachers.
The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Charles Tibone, told Parliament on Friday that government is ?concerned about the motives, credentials and activities of some pastors and preachers who come into Botswana.?

?Equally, we are concerned about the proliferation of churches, especially those spearheaded by dubious foreign pastors and preachers.?

The Minister said they have come to the conclusion that the current law is inadequate to deal with negative developments within religious circles. ?An example of this relates to provisions in the Employment of Non Citizen Act, which exempted members of the clergy of all registered and recognized churches from the requirements of work permits and residence permits. Consequently, registered and recognized churches easily obtain permission for their pastors and preachers.

Another example relates to the registration of churches in the Societies Act which requires among others, a threshold of 10 people for registration.
The Minister said ?these laws were clearly designed during innocent times for innocent people.?
He told parliament that there are already

suggestions from religious organizations on standards which could be set and mechanisms for screening both credentials and religious doctrines.
The minister was answering questions from Francistown West MP Tshelang Masisi.

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