Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Lawyers call for High Court protection following IPHC shootout

BY THOBO MOTLHOKA
 
Lawyers in the power tussle case involving the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) have submitted an application with the Registrar of the High Court calling for increased security at the high profile case scheduled for tomorrow (Monday, November 5) at Gaborone High Court.
Both sets of lawyers Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys and Motsumi Attorneys representing Thatayaone Baipusi and Tshepiso Samuel Modise, and Paul Matlhaga respectively authored a joint application to the Registrar requesting more protection during the case.
 
“We humbly request that you increase security at the Court premises on the 5th of November 2018,” they pleaded. “We are concerned that given the violence which has occurred in relation to this matter as widely reported in the media , particularly South Africa, it is important to take preventative measures.”
South Africa’s Sunday Times reported earlier last week that what was meant to be a men’s conference at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church headquarters in ZuurbekomÔÇÜ RandfonteinÔÇÜ west of JohannesburgÔÇÜ was halted by a rain of bullets as one faction of the church allegedly opened fire on the other.
 
“Church membersÔÇÜ some in their blue and white church uniform and others in the maroon and whiteÔÇÜ who claimed to be from LimpopoÔÇÜ Mpumalanga and MozambiqueÔÇÜ told Times LIVE that they were driving up to the church premises when they were stopped in their tracks by another faction of the church who had cordoned off the roadÔÇÜ telling them to go back,” the paper reported.
 
It is against this violence that the lawyers involved in the case between the church and Baipusi have called for more protection. “We cannot take anything for granted following what happened in South Africa,” Tshiamo Rantao of Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys told Sunday Standard.

In his latest application Matlhaga has filed for an interdict against Modise and Baipusi from carrying out any activities in the name of the church without written mandate of the Executive Committee. The application follows Modise’s visit to Serowe in 2017 where he said he had gone to “find his roots” and presenting himself as the comforter (spiritual leader) of the church.

Matlhaga is of the view that Modise’s decision to present himself as the comforter has far reaching implications with regard to the perceptions of the members of the church and the public in general.

Modise however  maintains that it is not for the High court of Botswana to determine the matter as the case is still pending in South African courts. The passing away of the church’s comforter, Gaytan Modise in 2016 has caused divisions among church members over who shall occupy the position of the comforter. Glayton Modise was the son of Frederick Modise, the founder of the church who died two decades ago, in 1998. One of the Church priests in Botswana Thatayaone Baipusi filed a counter application in 2016 following an earlier application brought against him by the Church Executive Committee.

The purpose of the Executive Committee application was to interdict Baipusi and Modise (Tshepiso Modise is the brother to Glayton Modise) from transacting from the church’s financial accounts. The comforter is the only signatory to the church’s banking accounts in all the countries it is present. 

Baipusi’s contention in his application had been that the Executive Committee’s move to interdict him and Modise from transacting from the church accounts is not properly constituted. He had said the Church’s resolution and power of attorney are invalid because IPHC in Botswana does not have any properly constituted Executive Committee as purported in the church’s resolution.
 

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Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.