Church war turns foul
An on-going bitter row over funds that rocked the Francistown Johan Church of God recently has culminated in disgruntled members dumping soiled toilets in a Gaborone church member’s yard last week.
Gibora Sibanda, 54, got the shock of her life when three angry church members emptied the foul smelling contents of two mobile toilets in her yard in Gaborone West last Friday.
Apparently caught in the crossfire of a war that hit the headlines when accusations of corruption and mismanagement of church funds sparked a fight that injured many and damaged property, Sibanda said she suspected the target was not her but her tenant, Dambe Mibisani who was vocal on the sensitive subject.
Visibly disgusted by the foul act of protest she said: “They are my church mates. Our men are fighting over money and the war has now arrived right at my doorstep.”
She further told The Voice that the three men, Naphtary, Joe and Rameki who brought the toilets in a Dyna truck, broke her gate down to empty two portable Daisy Loo toilets without saying a word to her. The trio who are relatives to the committee members accused of embezzling money, refused to comment on the matter.
At the centre of the controversy is the alleged mismanagement of church contributions that according to some concerned members runs into hundreds of thousands of pula, disgruntled elders have claimed.
David Murima, a concerned pastor revealed in an interview that the church has become ungovernable and that some people like Mbisani were being persecuted for raising legitimate questions.
“The issue started in 2005 when we wanted an audited financial report. Since then anybody who raises the question of an audit is either suspended or threatened with dismissal,” Murima claimed.
He said there were over 300 church members who were demanding answers over embezzlement accusations, but the Executive Committee led by a church elder called Themba Zakhile has resorted to issuing suspension letters to anybody who raised a dissenting voice.
“All we are told is that we paid BURS a substantial amount of money, and that we still owe P100 000 in taxes, but there is no paperwork to substantiate that,” said Murima.
The young pastor who has been served with a suspension letter claimed that on a weekly basis the church collects about P3000, but since its formation in 1974 they are still worshipping in a tin shack.
“Why is it a hard thing to account to the members on how their money has been used?” he asked.
Efforts to reach both Zikhale and his Vice Chairperson Shadi Muratsi were unsuccessful as their mobile phones were off while the treasurer Moses Moyo’s phone rang unanswered. Mbisani too couldn’t be reached for a comment as he had travelled to Zimbabwe at the time. Gaborone West Police Station Commander, Bonnie Bareki confirmed the strange incident in a telephone interview on Wednesday.