Documents obtained by The Telegraph detail how Zion Christian Church (ZCC) branches in Botswana could be involved in maladministration, violation of the church constitution, procedure and unfair treatment of other members by those in ‘illegal’ leadership positions within the church.
This emerged in a number of letters addressed to the church leaders in South Africa by concerned members of the Tlokweng branch through their lawyers.
The lawyers state in court papers that the Tlokweng branch has become a hot spot in the church, which threatens the cohesion of the church and its members.
One of the letters addressed to Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane states that one of the disturbing facts about ZCC in Botswana is the fact that many, if not most of the offices established by the Constitution remain only in paper and do not exist in reality.
“For instance, the highest office of the Minister remains nonexistent and unnamed. Many of the offices required by the Constitution and entrenched therein are either not filled or occupied by persons who do not meet the requirements laid in the Constitution,” reads the letter in part.
The situation, the documents show, is most rampant in Tlokweng branch. The result is that those who occupy these positions do not seem to appreciate what their functions and powers are and tend to act in a manner that abuse the authority they wield.
“These individuals are unable to discharge the functions of the offices they occupy either properly or at all and create unnecessary rift and conflict within the Tlokweng branch and the ZCC,” states the letter.
According to another letter addressed to Bishop Lekganyane, the self-appointed individuals act outside the Constitution, mostly in a heavy handed manner and tend to victimize other members of the Church.
“They also divert from the duty to share the Scripture and Minister to the congregation and instead exploit the pulpit to make malicious and insulting remarks against members of the congregation,” reads the letter in part.
The aggrieved members also wrote to office of the General Secretary in the Church headquarters in South Africa and they say to date they have not received either a formal acknowledgment of or response to their letter. Despite that, the documents show that two sets of delegations came to Botswana, sent to resolve the disputes.
“These delegations both flouted basic protocols in relation to the matter they had purportedly come to address. They openly associated themselves with one of the parties to the dispute by being accommodated by one of the parties to the dipute,” reads the letter. The delegation is also accused of receiving money donated to them by the other group against which the aggrieved members had registered their complaints in the first place. Each of the members of the two delegations was allegedly given amount of P10 000 as well as items of clothing and other gifts and they also met and took instructions from one of the parties to the dispute.
One of the aggrieved members, Galeitsewe Bose said this week that his five year suspension from church in 2014 was unjustified.
He explained that they had some internal problems within the church.
“Unfortunately some of the members were singled out and victimized.”
He said the mother church in South Africa was informed about the alleged troublemakers in the church and representatives came to Botswana to investigate the internal squabbles and eventually find a solution.
Bose stated that to his surprise the disciplinary proceedings were conducted unfairly and they were not given the opportunity to defend themselves.