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MBABANE – Opening of new churches may soon become a difficult project in some parts of the country.

In fact, Lushikishini leadership has since banned the opening or building of churches in the area and Ezulwini is looking at imposing same though an official position is yet to be taken.
There has been a major conflict in various communities as residents have been informed that opening or building of new churches has since been banned.

At Lushikishini, currently operating churches are still going to be investigated and should any of them not meet the requirements, they will be forced to close.
The leadership of Lushikishini said the main reason for banning the opening of new churches in the constituency was because they were of the view that people were using the churches as a business.
They said people were enriching themselves and making money using the Word of God. They also complained about the increasing number of churches as some use classrooms, school halls and tents to hold their sermons.
Chief Somtsewu Motsa from Lushikishini announced the recent development to the residents during the unveiling of the new traditional structures of the constituency.

The Constituency Headman Mhlonipheni Msibi confirmed the matter and explained that they were not against the preaching of the Word of God but their main worry was people misusing this to make money out of it. He said some church members break away from their original churches after disagreements resulting in the other party forming a different church.
Msibi highlighted that they recently had a problem with people who were not from the community but came to their constituency and requested to open churches.

“This becomes a challenge for us because we do not even know the backgrounds of some of these people or where they come from,” he explained.
He said they were working on proposing that all church leaders must have permitted reference letters with a clear background of the individual who leads the church. The headman also complained about the way some churches preached different gospels, especially when it came to culture. For instance, he said some pastors normally convinced the residents that there were no ancestors, which meant that they were criticising Swazi culture and tradition.

Meanwhile, Abraham Bhembe, the Constituency Headman of Lobamba Inkhundla, said this was something they were looking into but they were still going to summon the residents and discuss the matter with them.
He said he did not wish to unveil more details yet.

“However, we are now confused by the increase in the number of churches in the constituency,” he said. Bhembe explained that the land was now misused in communities and the reason was that people were aware that no one was paying attention to the proper use of land. He said for a church to operate fully, it must be investigated, including its leadership because in some instances ‘we engage unknown pastors to lead the churches only to find that they are after money, not to preach the Word of God’.

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