Church blows M989k fighting cleric

Church blows M989k fighting cleric

Senate Sekotlo

MASERU

THE Methodist Church spent a staggering M982 000 in legal fees since 2004 fighting a senior cleric for the control of the church in Lesotho.

This is according to the church’s southern Africa regional bishop, Andrew Motswenyane, who was in Lesotho this week.

Bishop Motswenyane told a press conference in Maseru yesterday that the church had spent M982 000 in legal fees in its battle against Reverend Daniel Rantle who was fired in 2004.

The bishop said he had also apologised to Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and the Basotho nation over the confusion the church’s 12-year squabbles had brought on the people.

He said he had told Mosisili that the church was very sorry for the confusion the infighting had caused the nation.

The Methodist Church has for the past 12 years been torn between two warring factions after the Lesotho overseer, Reverend Rantle, was axed 12 years ago.

The decision to kick out Rantle triggered a bloody fight between the supporters of Rantle and the regional church. Several individuals were injured during the skirmishes which were embarrassing for the church.

At some point school children at one of the church’s schools in Maseru were instructed by the principal to throw stones at members of a faction he did not support.

Bishop Motswenyane’s apology follows a Court of Appeal ruling that Rantle is not one of the church’s ministers and should therefore move out of its premises.

“He is nomore a Methodist minister after having captured the church’s buildings in Lesotho for many years and because of that the church has been in court and out of court and that has caused lot of pain hence the meeting with the Prime Mininster today,” Motswenyane said.

The bishop said the Methodist Church assured Mosisili that “such disruption of peace will never happen again”.

“Two weeks ago the court issued a judgement for Rantle to vacate the Methodist properties and he should stop using the name of the church and stop doing things in the name of the Methodist Church and should also to stop using tittle of Bishop of Methodist Church of Southern Africa,” Bishop Motswenyane said.

Motswenyane said he hoped that Rantle will obey the courts and vacate the church premises or else face the consequences.

“We will use legal processes to avoid being seen as wrongdoers and avoid using force. We will use whatever means available to get him out of the premises,” Bishop Motswenyane said.

He said if they were not a church they could perhaps have used force.

The Methodist Church has five reverands, Bona Setswedi who oversees Maseru district, Stephen Ziqubu who is assigned to Leribe, Shiblette Rampa in Mafeteng, Thanduxolo Ntshuntshe in Quthing and Jacob Tlhagale who oversees the church’s followers in Semonkong.

Efforts to contact Reverend Rantle were not successful last night.

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