By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2019-04-30
Having multiple wives disqualifies one from being a bishop!
These are the words from the president of one of Eswatini’s church bodies.
Eswatini’s leading church bodies, the Eswatini Conference of Churches (SCC) and League of Churches have come out to speak strongly against members getting involved in polygamous relationships.
Controversial All Nations Christian Church in Zion leader Bishop Bheki Lukhele is known to enjoy a polygamous lifestyle. This past weekend, his in-laws reportedly attacked journalists from this newspaper in the wake of claims that he has a new love.
Senani Shongwe is alleged to be in a love-relationship with the bishop, who she is seen with in pictures widely circulated on social media platform Facebook.
The bishop is thought to be making preparations to marry the new bride, in addition to another of his latest finds, Mayibongwe Mthimkhulu, who he has just paid lobola for.
Following the whole saga, the League of Churches, which the All Nations church falls under, took a stand and stated that they are against bishops being involved in polygamous relationships.
Eswatini League of Churches President Bishop Samson Hlatjwako said they don’t make the rules, but they follow the Bible and the bible makes it very clear that polygamy is not allowed. Hlatjwako said so far, there is nothing official which has reached his office pertaining Bishop Lukhele’s matter.
He said all that they have is information they gather from the media.
Hlatjwako said the bishop is under the leadership of other elders at regional level, and those in charge have not reported anything to his office, so it is hard for them to deal with the matter.
Hlatjwako said so far all that they have is hearsay “intfo lephuma emaphepheni ngeke ube ne sciniseko kanganani kutsi iyenteka”. The bishop said they do not lay down the rules but they are controlled and guided by the Bible. “libhayibheli litsi umholi kufuna abe nemfatimunye” Hlatjwako said in vernacular, which can be loosely translated to mean that the Bible states that a bishop must have one wife.
Meanwhile, Eswatini Conference of Churches President Bishop Stephen Masilela said the matter does not touch on them as the Conference of Churches, but it involves the League of Churches. He said under them they frown upon such practices and they do not engage in such.
He said even in the Bible, in the book of Timothy Chapter 3 it is clearly stated that for one to be a bishop, there are certain qualifications that he must meet. He said among the qualifications, it is clearly states that such a person must have one wife and must not drink alcohol, among other things.
“Doing these things disqualifies you from being a bishop,” Bishop Masilela said.
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