Residents Express Mixed Feelings About Societies Act Amendment

| January 22, 2015

Residents of some villages in Chobe District have expressed mixed feelings about the proposed amendment of the Societies Act to increase the number of members needed for church registration from 10 to 250.

Addressing kgotla meetings in Lesoma and Pandamatenga, the area MP, Mr Ronald Shamukuni sought ideas on how residents felt about the proposed amendment. One resident in Pandamatenga, Mr John Nkwane said he did not agree with the proposed amendment as it violated freedom of worship.

He explained that churches were not a threat, but a platform to fight crime and other social ills. “I believe that this amendment was suggested out of anger to discourage churches from getting registered, but there is honestly no harm in having more churches,” he said.

He said if there were people stealing from others in the church and being deceitful, an amendment like this would not fully address that problem as all churches would be painted with the same brush. Another resident, Mr Tuduetso Miti differed, saying that this was a welcome development as some churches were ripping people off.

“You find pastors owning expensive cars while their congregants are poor,” he said. In Lesoma, most residents were opposed to the bill saying it also tampered with their freedom of worship. One resident, Mr Moses Ketshwanetse said Batswana must be left to be free to worship however they feel.

“We are Africans, let us not make such requirements. Where would we get 250 residents in a small village like Lesoma,” he wondered. Ms Esther Museke also said that the constitution should be left as was to enable people to choose their place of worship from all the registered churches.

MPs are currently going around their constituencies across the country seeking their constituents’ input regarding the proposed amendments.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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