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A racist at the pulpit?

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Roman Catholic Priest accused of racism

A Roman Catholic Priest in Selebi Phikwe is at the center of racism allegations that are threatening to tear the church apart.

Concerned members of Tlhatlogong Catholic Mission have accused Polish native, Father Matthews of racist behavior towards his black flock since arriving in the country three years ago.

In an interview with The Voice, a whistle blower, who preferred anonymity, said the European holy man despises black congregants, who make up the large majority in church.

“He says that black people stink!” the source claimed.

“This matter was escalated to the church leadership. They are aware that he once called Father Alfred, an Indonesian man, ‘a baboon’. That is one of the reasons he left,” continued the source.

He further claimed that when Father Matthews arrived he demanded that all the furniture previously used by Father Alfred be thoroughly cleaned because ‘he could not stand the smell’.

“A house helper who’s been with the church for many years was told to pack and go. He cooks for himself and doesn’t want black people anywhere near him. The congregation is dispersing because they are not allowed anywhere near the priest’s house,” he said.

“As I speak the Committee Chairperson has resigned. In fact the entire committee has stepped down save for the Treasurer,” he continued, a claim The Voice later verified.

The paper reached out to the Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Francistown, which oversees Phikwe, Father Gabriel.

In a brief interview in the presence of Gabriel’s clergymen, Father Onkabetse, Father Sylvester, Father Mosalagae and Dean Mokgothu, the church leadership acknowledged that all was not well in Selebi Phikwe.

“There’s a challenge at Phikwe church, but we’re yet to identify the source of the conflict,” said Father Gabriel.

The softly-spoken Gabriel confirmed they are still investigating and are in the process of resolving the matter internally.

“The church has an internal process that will deal with this matter. Our church is universal and there’s no room for racism,” he said.

Father Sylvester told The Voice that they met with the Pastoral Council Executive Committee to follow-up on the racism allegations.

“We didn’t find anything to substantiate the racism allegation. In fact what we picked is that there’s a conflict which Father Matthews found already existing when he arrived in 2017,” he said.

“I just think his leadership style might have rubbed some people the wrong way,” said Father Sylvester, a sentiment shared by Father Mosalagae.

The five clergymen painted a sorry state of affairs at the former mine town church branch.

“Father Matthews found this mess there. He had to deal with a lot, found the church in debt with water bills reaching P30, 000. The church is in debt,” said Father Sylvester.

The Dean, Father Mokgothu added that embattled Father Matthews had alerted them to the situation in Selebi Phikwe.

“We met as the leadership but before we could resolve this issue The Voice called,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from Father Matthews proved unsuccessful as only the Administrator, Father Gabriel, is at liberty to talk to the media.

The Roman Catholic Church is not new to scandals.

In 2017 Bishop Valentine Seane, of Christ the King Cathedral in Gaborone, had to resign following accusations of sexual misconduct by the Sisters of Calvary.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by sex scandals over the years.

In one of the well-publicised cases at least 60 children were abused by Marcial Maciel, founder of the ultra-conservative Catholic order Legion of Christ in Mexico.

In 2006, Maciel was ordered to retire to a life of penitence after years of allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

He died two years later at the age of 87 without facing his accusers.

A report published by the Roman Catholic group, stated at the time that 33 priests in the order abused at least 175 minors since it was founded in 1941.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Cheerful

    February 25, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    The church is the House of God where all are equal it should not have an issue like this going on

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Sangomas’ fatal battle

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Trio implicated in rival’s fiery death

Three traditional doctors in Serowe will have their spiritual powers put to the test as they race against time to escape a possible death penalty for the gruesome murder of a rival medicine man on 19th February.

The trio of Keitumetse Dudu Seakane, 34, Phaphane Jack, 27, and Gladys Dintwa, 52, is accused of burning Mhanje Raplanka alive at his home in Itsokwane Farms, just a few kilometers from Moiyabana.

The three sangomas, who were granted bail by Serowe Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 19th March, appeared again for mention this Monday.

Speaking to The Voice, No. 2 District Officer Commanding, Paul Oketsang, confirmed the trio has been charged with the 67-year-old Raplanka’s murder.

However, the top cop would not go into detail as the matter is sensitive and still under investigation.

In an exclusive, emotional interview with this publication, a family spokesperson revealed they received a call at midnight on February 19th from concerned neighbours at the usually quite lands.

“They said people were killing our father and we should rush as quickly as possible to fetch him as he needed medical attention,” narrated the source, who pleaded to remain anonymous as he still has to give evidence in court.

The spokesperson is convinced the mastermind behind the cold-blooded murder was Gladys, the deceased’s niece.

“From what we learnt after the old man’s death, Gladys, who’s a traditional doctor, had once asked her uncle to pass on his shrine to her, a request he flatly rejected.”

According to the source, the holy shrine in the middle of the elderly man’s farm has long been a source of envy for Gladys, who desperately needed it to fortify herself.

Narrating his version of events from the fateful night, the family member claimed the trio drove together in a Honda Fit owned by Jack, parking close to the corrugated mud hut where an unsuspecting Raplanka lay sleeping.

“Gladys remained behind in the car, while Keitumetse and Phaphane proceeded to the house. They took a bath at the gate before entering the yard,” The Voice was told.

Suspects

The two sangomas allegedly doused the house in petrol before setting it on fire.

“From what we heard, the old man somehow managed to break through the door before he was completely consumed by fire. But they knocked him down with a log and poured more petrol on his burning body,” said the source, who remained remarkably calm considering his gory narrative.

Convinced Raplanka was dead, the two men reportedly returned to the car and fled the scene.

“Miraculously, he managed to extinguish the fire and staggered to the next yard, about a kilometre away, where he narrated his ordeal and named his attackers. It was the neighbours who alerted us and the police,” continued the family insider.

According to the source, a police van arrived an hour later to pick the badly burnt old man, who unfortunately died on the way to the hospital, a few kilometers from Moiyabana.

The suspects were arrested around noon the next day.

They are due back in court for mention on 2nd June.

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Botswana confirms four (4) cases of Covid-19

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  1. As noted yesterday Botswana has confirmed 3 cases of Covid-19. We now report a fourth Covid-19 case, this case is of a 79 old lady from Ramotswa who unfortunately demised on the 25th March, 2020 and was buried over the weekend on the 28th March 2020. She had travelled to Motswedi, South Africa on the 14 March 2020 and returned the following day on the 15th March 2020.

She started showing symptoms on the 21 March 2020 and later developed fever. It was noted that she had a significant other, comorbidities. On return from Motswedi she was kept on home quarantine from where she was brought to Bamalete Lutheran Hospital.

She was seen in Accident and Emergency and put under mandatory quarantine where she died on the 25 March 2020, and burial conducted with the necessary precautions of someone suspected to have highly an infectious disease.

Contact tracing is currently underway and so far 14 have been identified, quarantined and tested for Covid-19. Results are awaited.
Regarding the previous 3 cases we would like the Nation to note the following:

  1. The first case is a 47-year-old male, Motswana who came from Basingstoke, travelled to the United Kingdom on the 29th February 2020 and returned on the 21st March 2020. At the time of arrival the patient was asymptomatic.

The patient developed a fever (>38°C), coughing and running shortness of breath, the patient was swabbed on the 28th March 2020. The patient was tested at the National Health Laboratory (NHL) and also referred to National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa.

  1. The second case is a 40-year-old female Motswana who travelled with her husband to Thailand on the 10th March 2020 and returned to Botswana on 20th March 2020 through Dubai, and through OR Tambo and SSKI.

The lady developed sore throat, was coughing and had a headache.

She was swabbed on the 27th March 2020. The patient was tested at the National Health Laboratory (NHL) and also referred to National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa.

  1. The third case is a 42-year-old male Motswana who travelled with his wife to Thailand on the 10th March 2020 and returned to Botswana on 20th March 2020 through Dubai, and through OR Tambo and SSKI.

The male was coughing with a temperature of 37.8°C. He was swabbed on the 27th March 2020. The patient was tested at the National Health Laboratory (NHL) and also referred to National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa.

As we face this challenge I call upon you my Countryman to stand together in unity as we fight this scourge. We together shall prevail. We have done this before and we shall do it again.

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