Church be­gins Bishop Taaso in­quiry

Lesotho Times - - News -

A Four-mem­ber panel on Mon­day con­ducted pre­lim­i­nary hear­ings into al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion, mis­use of church funds, dab­bling in ac­tive party pol­i­tics and ill-treat­ment of church mem­bers lev­elled against Angli­can church of le­sotho (Acl) leader Bishop Mal­lane Adam Taaso.

The panel was chaired by Bishop Nkosi­nati Nd­wandwe of KwaZulu-natal, and also com­prised Bishop Din­toe lent­loenyana of the Free State Dio­cese, regis­trar of the Dio­cese of christ the King Ad­vo­cate Manaka and regis­trar of the Dio­cese of the Free State Ad­vo­cate John­son.

The in­quiry was held at the cathe­dral of St Mary and St James in Maseru and fol­lowed com­plaints made by six Acl priests to the Arch­bishop of cape Town and Metropoli­tan of the Angli­can church in South­ern Africa, the Most rev­erend Thabo Mak­goba.

The priests, namely rev­erend Maieane Khaketla, rev Maseru Mon­galo, rev Sello Moshoeshoe, rev Palo Mphethi, rev Sa­muel Monya­mane and rev Molemo Baatjies, were among the peo­ple in­ter­viewed by the Board on Mon­day.

Acl chan­cel­lor, Jus­tice Tšeliso Mon­aphathi told the Le­sotho Times that the in­quiry sought to es­tab­lish if there was “a prima fa­cie case against the Bishop”.

“This pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry paves the way for a deeper in­quiry or tri- bunal to be held by the church if there is a case worth such a tri­bunal,” Jus­tice Mon­aphathi said.

“like i said, this pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry is only in­tended for the com­plainants to state their case and the Bishop to re­spond to what­ever ac­cu­sa­tions they may have against him. The Dean of the cathe­dral Tanki Mo­fana can also be in­vited to ap­pear be­fore the in­quiry and re­spond to cer­tain ques­tions but only if he is in­vited.”

Bishop Taaso would not com­ment on the is­sue on Mon­day while rev Khaketla last week said they sent their com­plaints to Most rev­erend Mak­goba in De­cem­ber 2015.

“The 450-page doc­u­ment we com­piled in­cludes af­fi­davits from the six of us and other em­ploy­ees of the dio­cese of le­sotho, and nu­mer­ous fi­nan­cial state­ments,” Rev Khaketla said.

in their re­quest for Arch­bishop Mak­goba to es­tab­lish a ‘rec­on­cil­i­a­tion com­mis­sion in the Dio­cese of le­sotho’, the six priests noted: “it is with great con­cern that we are writ­ing this let­ter to humbly re­quest your au­gust of­fice to ur­gently fa­cil­i­tate the es­tab­lish­ment of a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion com­mis­sion for heal­ing of mem­o­ries, for­give­ness and unity in the Dio­cese.

Since His lord­ship the right rev Bishop Mal­lane Taaso took over, the Dio­cese of le­sotho has ex­pe­ri­enced con­tin­u­ous un­re­solved con­flicts which have re­sulted in deep­rooted di­vi­sion and ex­ac­er­bated ha­tred.

“in­stead of ad­dress­ing is­sues to bring about pa­cific res­o­lu­tion of dis­putes, he al­ways chooses to use bel­liger­ence and threats, in­clud­ing brute force. in his meet­ings with the clergy that he is at log­ger­heads with, he uses bel­li­cose state­ments.

The fol­low­ing points de­serve pro­found con­sid­er­a­tion: Neg­a­tive ap­proach to con­flicts forc­ing clergy to re­sort to court cases; cut­ting clergy’s stipends with­out con­sul­ta­tion; breed­ing divi­sions among clergy; harass­ment of the Dio­cese’s staff and vol­un­teers based on un­founded al­le­ga­tions; defama­tion of char­ac­ter of the clergy; de­nial of clergy nat­u­ral jus­tice (un­canon­i­cal sus­pen­sion of clergy); nepo­tism; the Bishop’s al­leged af­fil­i­a­tion with a po­lit­i­cal party (tar­nish­ing the church image); the Bishop’s threats to clergy; and the Bishop’s un­rec­on­cil­ing at­ti­tude with the clergy he dis­agrees with.”

Billy Ntaote

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