Botswana: We will comply, but...

From Mmegi
Bame Piet (19/11/08)

The leadership of the Anglican Diocese of Botswana has failed to make a commitment to comply with the 16 October High Court judgment ordering that it reinstate the seven priests who had their licenses revoked by Bishop Mwamba last year.

At a press briefing yesterday, Bishop Theophelus Naledi, Father Andrew
Mudereri, Maleho Mothibatsela, and Pako Keokilwe said the Anglican Diocese of
Botswana is complying with the judgment but it can't do so without following
church rules and procedures. "We are complying, but we can't do that in
isolation from our structures, rules and procedures," Bishop Naledi said.
The four said that they had no intention of appealing the court ruling and
they are in the process of complying with it. They also said they knew nothing
about allegations of misappropriation of funds insisting that "there are
structures in the church" which should be followed.

The four also downplayed
a recent petition from some church members calling on Bishop Mwamba to step
down. The petitioners called on Minister of Labour and Home affairs, Peter Siele
to intervene.

"We have structures that should be followed. This is not an
industrial action," the four said in response to questions on the petition.
Asked whether Bishop Mwamba is agreeable to permitting homosexuals into the
priesthood, Father Mudereri responded: "As far as I know, Bishop Mwamba has
never announced that he is pro-homosexual. But, homosexuals are there. We must
accept them as children of God. We must help them".

Meanwhile, some of the
suspended priests say they have not been paid. Mothibatsela said "we are working
on that problem and they will be paid".

The seven priests who successfully challenged their suspension are Aubrey Molatlhwe, Botshabelo Beleme, Moreri Leteemane, Mooketsi Mokgatlhe, Paul Beleme, Essau Mosima (deceased), and Patrick Ncaagae for the congregations of Lobatse, Molepolole, Mahalapye, Broadhurst, Mogoditshane, Selibe-Phikwe and Tonota. They argued that their suspension was to give way for expatriate priests.

Mudereri said yesterday that the church needs more priests.

1 comment:

  1. Bishop Naledi - that's the previous bishop (now retired) obviously standing in for Bishop Mwamba to deflect the flak generated by a hostile press.

    Bishop bashing is a much a sport in Botswana as elsewhere. Unfortunately they usually target the wrong ones!