BOTSWANA – The Enlightened Christian Gathering Church International (ECG) of the flamboyant Malawian prophet, Shepherd Bushiri has failed to stop the police from enforcing an order by the Registrar of Societies to cancel the registration of the church and stop fellowship.
ECG, represented by attorney, Thata Noke brought an urgent application before the Gaborone High Court judge, Terrence Rannowane on Sunday morning against Commissioner of Police, Registrar of Societies and Attorney General as first, second, and third respondents respectively.
The church followers said they had the intelligence reports that the police would have yesterday (Sunday) forcefully dispersed their church morning sessions and close the premises because they would be illegal gatherings.
They therefore counteracted by running to the High Court to seek an order against the police. Judge Rannowane, however ruled that the matter was not extremely urgent that would justify convening a court session at a short notice on Sunday morning.
“In casu the urgency of the situation does not justify coming to court on Sunday, particularly taking into account that the applicant knew as way back as the 11th December, 2017 that the church was going to be closed,” said the ruling.
The judge also said, “the urgency of the current application does not justify bringing the action exparte. The other party must, in the interest of justice, be served”.
Rannowane ordered that the application be postponed to January 17, 2018 for hearing and the church was also ordered to serve the respondents today (Monday).
The church attorney had argued that the police could not close the church premises pending the appeal to the Minister.
Noke argued that the registration cancellation could only be effected if the appeal to the Minister has been dismissed and since it has not been yet determined they should be allowed to worship.
The police, who were first respondents, were on Sunday however clueless of the case and the said operation to forcefully close the ECG churches around the country would be enforced.
Meanwhile, the ECG churches members said it was business as usual at their Sunday sessions.