He took royalty, clergy for a ride
MBABANE – Church leaders and at least two senior members of the royal family who are holders of the ‘doctor of divinity’ degrees awarded by Bishop Keith Harrington, the husband of ‘Generations’ star Sophie Ndaba, have been left regretting.
The ‘honorary doctorates’ they have believed themselves to be holders of are nothing but plain paper with words written on it.
Most of them paid for the supposed facilitation process for the certificates.
It has since been revealed that controversial Bishop Harrington had been awarding fake degrees to high-profiled individuals, both in Africa and internationally.
Several Swazi preachers and other high-profile individuals are among Harrington’s victims.
Last month, Harrington offered a public apology for some of his misdemeanors after they were exposed by the South African media.
The media in that country reported that the International Theological Seminary of California, US, (ITSC), where the bishop claims to have received his varied qualifications, probablyã€€does not even exists.
Harrington, who married actress Queen Moroka of ‘Generations’ in a glamorous wedding last year February, had been awarding the doctorate on behalf of the non-existing ITSC.
In Swaziland, Harrington awarded over 15 church leaders with degrees titled ‘doctor of divinity.’
For the doctorate, Harrington used the address of a university he claimed was in California. It has since been discovered that the address given by Harrington in his credentials is not a college or university, but an empty parking lot.
These allegedly fake degrees were unknowingly also received by two very senior female members of the royal family.
Among other recipients are flamboyant Bishop Nash Shongwe, former Minister Absalom Muntu Dlamini, Reverend Johannes Mazibuko, Bishop Enock Maseko, Reverend Sikhova Msibi, Bishop Nicholas Nyawo and Pastor Douglas Khumalo.
The ‘honorary recipients’ are said to have paid between E2 000 and E6 000 each for the ‘qualifications.’
Jackson Mazibuko, the reverend who was Harrington’s local correspondence, said the doctorates were just recognition of good work and the role played by the recipients in terms of spreading the gospel of Christ to the public. He said the doctorate could not be used as a qualification for finding a job.
Harrington’s focus on Swaziland was mainly in the Christianity fraternity.
Mazibuko is 59 years old and a preacher at Grace Fellowship Centre in Manzini.
He once served as Secretary General of the Swaziland Conference of Churches.
Interviewed on Wednesday, Jackson said specific qualifications were required by Harrington before granting the degrees.
"Before granting the degree, Harrington would do a brief investigation about you. He would contact your church, especially about your conduct, then check with the police where an affidavit would also be prepared about your criminal record," he said.
Jackson is also one of the holders of the worthless doctorate.
He said this degree was awarded to him by Bishop Harrington in 2001.
The graduation ceremony was held in Pretoria at the Tshwane University of Technology.
"I got my degree together with Reverend Absalom Muntu Dlamini from the International Tabernacle and Bishop Nicholas Nyawo from the Evangelical church," he said.
This publication got hold of both reverend Dlamini and Bishop Nyawo who confirmed to have received the doctor of divinity from Harrington. However they referred further questions to Mazibuko whom they identified as the organiser.
Dlamini said: "I received the degree together with Reverend Jackson Mazibuko and Reverend Nyawo. Mazibuko was Harrington’s correspondence. Speak with him."
Nyawo said the person to comment was Jackson. "He was the organiser," he said.
Recently, Sunday World, a South African newspaper, reported that Harrington had been accused of holding a bogus doctorate, among other mischief.
The newspaper said it had made several attempts to contact ITSC earlier in March, but the trail continued to lead them to the International Theological Seminary (ITS), which was also in California.
In response to questions about the validity of the ITSC, an anonymous registrar at ITS said as far she was concerned, there was no other such school.
On Monday, that newspaper said a South African based in United States of America had traced the address of the university given by Harrington and discovered that the place is an empty parking lot.
Bishop Stephen Masilela, president of Conference of Swaziland Churches, says nothing official has been communicated to the organisation about the fake doctorates awarded to church leaders.
He, however, said they had seen reports alleging that Harrington awarded fake degrees.
"As an organisation, we were not involved. It was a private thing which our members, who are the churches, conducted privately. We only learnt of the doctorate issue in the newspapers. Though we have seen the circulating reports about Reverend Harrington, the holders of the doctorate have not yet approached the organisation about the matter. However, we are to investigate," he said.
He further warned church leaders to be cautious before accepting degrees from institutions.
It is so interesting to note how modern church leaders are so addicted to America, or anything associated to America. The charismatic and the pentecostal churches tend to believe, to understand God is to associate with America. Just imagine this big names of Swazi Churches being dragged into the mud. Just see how much these ministry churches are corrupt when it comes to money, they can do so many crazy things for money. today's church is tempted by money like Judas, so the church has become today's Judas, the church is betraying the Gospel. We build big fancy churches at the expense of the poor, it is true God's house must look beautiful, but God would love to see the church addressing the needs of the poor. How God's house is, must also be reflected in the houses of the multitudes, likewise how the multitudes houses are must be reflected to how the house of God is. Just look at this Bishop who is married to a celebrity, poor Sophie, is this partnership divine or it is about fame and money? I do not know only God knows. I think Sophie is heading for divorce again, 'maye nibutsakatsaka nani Sophie nibanjwa ngalenikudlako."
May 20, 2012, 8:01 AM, Phesheya Kunene (email@example.com)
"Doctor of Divinity"! These days? I once heard one 'figure' boasting about her achieving a "Doctor of Wisdom" honorary degree. Futsi...
May 20, 2012, 8:01 AM, Amusing!
This is a lesson to all that you cannot just go around accepting something that you too well that you do not deserve. This revelation just serves everybody involved right.
May 20, 2012, 8:01 AM, Tivelile (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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