Monday 2022-01-24




By Mhlonishwa Hlophe | 2022-01-15

Senior church members at Africa Evangelical Church (AEC) are reportedly at each other’s throats as the prolonged infighting over positions seems to be far from over with the regional executive of the church having swiftly opposed a church meeting scheduled for today.

The meeting had been called by the director of the church, Sipho Maseko.
Apparently, Maseko is the director of all AEC branches in Eswatini and was elected to the position in 2011 when the church was registered as a company. He also holds the position of vice president in other branches outside Eswatini. AEC has branches in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and Gauteng as well as Botswana.

A clique within the church allegedly wants Maseko out of his position as director, said a source. He had been  accused of refusing to hand over the directorship of the church to other pastors.

The Saturday Observer is in possession of a communiqué by Maseko directed to the regional executive that there would be a general meeting and it would be made public to enable all stakeholders to participate in the process of the management of the church affairs. He said the meeting would take place today, (January 15, 2022). Sources close to the matter said it would be held at the Matsapha AEC.

Regional Chairperson of the executive Reverend Terence Mthethwa, when sought for comment, if he had received the letter from Maseko regarding the proposed meeting said; “Ngeke ngikuphendvule babe, which when loosely translated means ‘I will not respond to your question”.

The regional executive has swiftly moved to oppose the meeting through a letter directed to all AEC pastors and local churches.
“We greet you all bazalwane in the wonderful name of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We hope this letter finds you well. This letter serves to inform all general members of the Africa Evangelical Church that the announcement about a meeting this coming Saturday is not from the regional executive of the church.

Therefore, the executive kindly requests all the general members not to attend such a meeting. We are very sorry bazalwane to have such a scenario in the church,” reads part of the letter.  

Maseko’s detractors complained that he has occupied the post for over 11 years. An informant at the AEC said they were surprised why the executive was planning to stop the meeting as they were the ones complaining about the director. The source said according to the Eswatini Companies Act Section 8 of 2009, the director has powers to summon them to the meeting.

“Clause 41 of the Act says the continuing directors may act notwithstanding any vacancy in their body, but if and so long as their number is reduced below the number fixed or pursuant to the regulations of the company as a minimum number of directors, the continuing director may act for the purpose of summoning a general meeting of the company and for no other purpose.”

The infighting in the church has been ongoing for quite some time.
Maseko acknowledged having received a letter dated December 7, 2021 from the chairman and secretary of the executive committee—Eswatini region, where he was being accused of holding on to the position of directorship unconstitutionally.

He was accused of being in breach of the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the church, as well its Constitution.

“You have not resigned as a director of the church so that new directors can take over. You have ignored calls for you to resign so that there is a rotation of the directors. The church, therefore, has decided to call you in for a meeting on December 16, 2021 at the head office, Mbabane. The agenda of the meeting will be your removal as a director of the AEC church with immediate effect, and elections of new directors of the church.

You are kindly urged to attend, should you fail to attend the meeting, he  will proceed in your absence,” reads the letter.
The Saturday Observer learnt that the meeting went as planned and both parties were present. However, it never bore any positive fruits.

In response, through a correspondence dated December 14, 2021 seen by this publication, Maseko said some contents of the letter contained statements that were not true. “Your letter neither cites nor quotes the specific articles of association and that of the Constitution I have violated. In all the years of my service leadership in the church, I have always respected the church constitution and, to the best of my ability, done all I could to abide by its tenants,” he argued.

Maseko further revealed that he had asked for a letter detailing these claims, whenever telephoned to resign.
“I requested you to put everything you were saying in writing so that I could respond accordingly.

Needless to point out that this is a matter that is at the heart of the administration of the company (church), and as such, matters such as these cannot be handled through telephone conversations without appropriate documentation,” reads the letter written by Maseko.

Maseko further accused the committee of having repeatedly failed to formally engage him regarding the matter. He alleged that the letter he received dated December 7, was the first form of communication concerning the matter.

“Therefore, your statement that I have ignored calls to resign was false and misleading.”
He asserted that he was being attacked personally, thus putting his dignity in bad standing in the Africa Evangelical Church.

“Please note that it would be irresponsible of me as a director and leader to resign without ensuring a smooth transfer of the company directorship to legally elected officers,” he stated. He also took issue with the summons issued by the church, saying he was outraged by its contents. “I am outraged by the contents of your letter summoning me to a meeting whose explicit agenda is the illegal removal of the incumbent director without the explicit concern of the church shareholders and the general membership of the AEC,” he fumed.

“Moreover, in your letter demanding me to effect changes in the directorship of the church (company) by my resignation, you are not referencing minutes of the shareholders meeting where a resolution was taken to elect whosoever as directors in accordance with the explicit provisions of the Act,” reads the letter. According to Maseko, it is the prerogative and an inalienable right of the shareholders to freely choose the directors of their company through a voting system at its general or extraordinary meeting.

“It is for this reason, therefore, that with the powers invested in me as the incumbent chairman of directors,  I shall urgently convene an extraordinary general meeting as provided by Section 155 (5), 158 or 160 of the Act for the shareholders to decide on the urgent matter of the change of directors of the church,” he said.

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