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image Chairman of the League of Churches Bishop Samson Hlatshwako.

MBABANE – Chairman of the League of Churches Bishop Samson Hlatshwako has criticised gospel group leaders who call themselves pastors.

Hlatshwako also highlighted that it was now a trend that most gospel singers or church choir leaders assumed the role of pastors. Hlatshwako said pastors would be anointed by the church into the positions of leadership.

“Pastors now anoint themselves and one remains amazed how this happens overnight,” he said.
He also said ordinarily single men should not be made church leaders, citing an incident of a certain pastor who was allegedly dating six women from one church.
“These people need to be groomed and they should be married,” he said.

He said it was now common that every morning they woke up to news that an individual, especially those who sang gospel music anointed themselves as church leaders.


“That should not be the case. It is the church that should anoint a person and not the other way round,” he said.
He further condemned pastors who were always advertising that miracles would be performed at a certain period.

“Only God gives such powers of making miracles and it happens at any given moment so they should refrain from such,” stated Hlatshwako.
He said the pastors also called the churches their own and forgot that it was God’s church.
“Akusiwo emabandla abo, aNkulunkulu,” he said. 

However, he said at the moment they would continue to pray for the sinners.
He said the reports were seriously damaging the image of the church as they were highly embarrassing. 
“Kuyasihlaza, phindze kuyayona inkholo,” said Hlatshwako in vernacular.
Hlatshwako said government should make a follow up as to which organisation or church structure that certain pastor was from and ensure that the wrongdoers were dealt with accordingly.

Meanwhile, President of the Swaziland Conference of Churches (SCC) Bishop Steven Masilela said the immoral acts which were being committed by the church leaders were simple sins.
He said in some instances he believed that this was caused by the fact that many people wanted to make money out of churches.
“It is for this reason that we always monitor pastors especially those who are foreigners and come to start up churches here,” he said.
He said they monitored them through the internet and further worked with their international partners.      

 On another note, the two leaders called upon government to ensure that laws to regulate the churches and their leaders are put in place.
Both leaders of the Swaziland League of Churches and Swaziland Conference of Churches said it was high time that a Bill or policy which would govern churches was piloted.

This follows the recent bad publicity in which men of the cloth have been found on the wrong side of the law and also committing immoral acts.


League of Churches wants ‘political priest’ to step down

MBABANE – The Swaziland League of Churches has called upon a priest to step down from being a church leader since he had formed a political party.
The priest, Phumlani Shongwe, announced during the funeral of Banele Dlamini who was a member of the proscribed People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) that he had since formed a party called Swaziland Christian Community Party.

Chairman of the League of Churches Bishop Samson Hlatshwako said church leaders who started political partiers were dangerous especially if they started such parties under the disguise of a church.
“The people who put money into these parties are foreigners who want to distabilise our monarchy,” alleged Hlatshwako on national radio yesterday morning during the programme Letishisako.

Shongwe stated that he had formed the new political party because he was fed up with the Tinkhundla system of governance.
Shongwe who said he was a priest at the Apostolic Faith Mission said he wanted to see a multiparty democracy introduced in Swaziland.

Hlatshwako said such church leaders should resign and concentrate on their other dreams instead of dragging the name of the church through the mud.
“If they have other agendas they should not use the name of the church and I would call upon government to seriously take some action against these people,” said Hlatshwako.


SCC defends church leaders lifestyles

MBABANE – The Swaziland Conference of Churches (SCC) has defended what is perceived to be church leaders’ lavish lifestyles.
President Bishop Steven Masilela of the SCC said as far as he was concerned pastors received salaries and it was possible that they were using these monies wisely.
Masilela said he was actually very pleased that the pastors had invested in beautiful homes and cars.

“The pastors are part of those who are taking the country to first World Status as it is His Majesty’s vision that the country should attain such by 2022,” said Masilela.
He said unless evidence suggested otherwise he believed that the church leaders had used their salaries wisely and had acquired bonds from banks who were helping them finance their lives.
He said the introduction

of the Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) had ensured that all the pastors accounted for their possessions. “I do not believe that they use church funds to enrich themselves,” said Masilela.

He said the olden days of pastors receiving hand me down coats or clothes from church members was a thing of the past.
“I am quite excited for the men and women of God especially if they are acquiring their wealth legally,” he said.


No money to deal with religion - Home Affairs

MBABANE – The Ministry of Home Affairs has said due to financial challenges they could not properly handle matters of religion.
The Principal Secretary, Anthony Masilela, said his ministry was not only concerned about the Christian fraternity, but religion in the country as a whole.

Masilela said a department to handle matters of religion had been realigned to the ministry, but at the time it was established the country faced fiscal challenges.
He said he was confident that with the turn around of the economy the department would be fully set up and government would find a way to monitor churches.

“The Swaziland Constitution allows for freedom of religion so we will not just concentrate on the Christian fraternity only,” said Masilela.
He said personally, however, he condemned the acts which were being committed by men who were supposed to lead by example. He called upon other men of God to pray for such individuals.

Pastors can wear earrings – Thethe

MBABANE – Pastor Themba Thethe Dlamini has said pastors can wear earrings. The pastor of Fellowship of God’s Holy Place is one pastor who wears earrings. When quizzed to give a reason behind this he said his church mainly uses arts and music to minister the Word of God.

Dlamini disclosed that he joined the ministry in the year 2000 and was ordained in 2003 and that is when he started wearing the earrings, considering that most of the church members were the youth.

Dlamini mentioned that he sees nothing wrong with wearing earrings because the most important thing is living according to the dictates of the Holy Bible. He said pastors are being exposed every now and then for misconduct but he has never been a victim.

“My church uses mostly arts and music to minister the Word of God so I think that platform does not allow me to be always informal. Besides, most of the time I deal with the youth and so in order to fish them, I also have to be like them at times”, said the pastor.

“I do not mean that people should be indecent. People should cover their bodies well but it remains their right to choose the kind of clothes they want to wear.” He said he is aware that many Christians are criticising him for the earrings  but he sees that they do not clearly understand the Bible as there is no verse stating that Christians and pastors, in particular, should not be seen wearing earrings.

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