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“Pastors today are after money” – Rev. John Phillip

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One of the founding elders of the Christian faith in Botswana, Reverend John Phillip has spoken strongly against the love of money by most of the local pastors, saying they have forgotten to take care of the widows, orphans and less privileged members of the community. Rev.

Phillip was responding to a new book called Rich Preacher and The Poor Christian by Apostle Earnest Seakgosing, which was launched recently in Gaborone. Phillip told The Midweek Sun that the book exposes the greed of some local pastors who are preaching the wrong Gospel to get money from vulnerable people. “It’s an eye-opening book, and the author has balanced and articulated everything well. Contrary to what some false prophets say, blessings come from God and not from people giving them money,” he said.

He commended 41 year-old Seakgosing for his boldness in writing the book. “He has responded well to a given situation. It should have taken an organisation to respond to this situation, but he did. Just as banks speak against fraud Batswana should know that blessings are not bought. God gives his children with love,” he said. He added that modern pastors have strategised their sermons in such a way that they benefit money from the congregants. “They pray for you to get rich and come up with other ways to take your money again. We need to be wise. This book will help many people because it speaks nothing but the truth,” he said.

Describing the marks of false prophets, Seakgosing says that the devil does not come with horns and a bushy tail to deceive. He informs that false prophets and teachers usually will pick the most respected dress code which the God-sent usually wears. “If it is a white shirt with a white collar – that is what they will wear. When the fashion shifts to designer suits, they will be seen with such. They will do that and put a twist to it,” he says. He also warns that false prophets prophesy in the name of Jesus, to deceive people.

They also pretend to be used by the Holy Spirit, he says, citing 1 Kings 22:24 for reference. The other thing is that false prophets focus on themselves and not the people and constantly remind people that they (themselves) are in charge. “When they lead a congregation, they always remind everyone about their authority, but they don’t have Godly authority. They don’t like to be exposed.

These guys always demand loyalty. They teach people to be loyal to themselves than to God. Failure to be loyal to them, they call you rebellious and curse you,” he says, adding that their idea is to keep their loyal followers in total bondage and in fear of them. Seakgosing has observed that false teachers can run sermons on loyalty for months until their followers come crawling-literally on their knees to pledge their loyalty to them. “From these kinds, flee as far as you can child of God. They are starving wolves,” he cautions. His take is that people should start reading the Bible to avoid being manipulated with twisted scriptures.

‘They commercialise the Gospel.’According to the author, false prophets and teachers sell ‘something that has the anointing in it.’ An example is the anointing oils or anointed blankets so that when you wear them no witch can come near you. Or an alabaster perfume so that when you get into an interview, you will get the job faster. “Their altar calls are always about who wants to be a millionaire? Who wants more power? Who wants this and that?” he says. His observation is also that lovers of money parading as pastors only bless their funders. “I visited a church one day. When it was time for giving, they would separate offerings from tithes.

The pastor would dip his hands in the anointing oil and laid them on the tithers, stating that God should touch the hearts of those that did not tithe because they rob him,” he says, countering that God does not rob people and that pastors twist the Scriptures to make God appear like a mafia. Other pastors require money they call ‘a seed’ to be seen and accessed, says the author.

He also warns that false teachers speak vanities. For example, they tell you that if you sow a five-dollar seed, you will reap a five-dollar wife if that seed is being sown into marriage, and the same tactic is used on people who want cars and houses. False pastors also emphasise ‘payment’ for themselves than giving to God, according to the author. Their strategy here, he says, is that giving to the man of God, you will get blessed. He advises Christians to focus on God, informing that Christianity is not a religion but a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, who is the only mediator between God and man. The book is available at Lesedi Christian Centre.

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BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

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University of Botswana students are bracing themselves for the Student Representative Council (SRC) elections. Contenders are fighting tooth and nail to appease the electorate. Three camps are in contention to fill the 13 council positions.

Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) Moono-wa-Baithuti has the onerous task of defending all the 13 seats which they hauled at the last elections of 2018. “As Moono wa Baithuti, we have lots of achievements. We are on the verge of getting the student bar open, so we need to go back and fix what we started,” said UDC’s Tumelo Legase who is vying for the position of Vice President.

He said they have advocated for student empowerment policies and are also proposing a third arm of student representation. “We have the SRC and the Judiciary, what we need is the student Parliament so that we have a large number of leaders who can independently attend to problems across the university.” The dark horse in this race is the University of Botswana’s Alliance for Progressive (AP) which will take another leap of faith despite their loss in the previous election.

They are rejuvenated and redefined. Candidate for Vice President Karabo Bokwe said central to their mandate is making the welfare of the student community a priority. “We want to help eradicate school policies that border on oppression, and through new polices call for initiatives that come with enterprenuership benefits to students.”

AP candidate for Information and Publicity, a first year Criminal Justice student Gracious Selelo said they are more united than other parties even at national level. “We don’t have internal squabbles within our party, we are more focused and can deliver our mandate easily,” she noted.

However the ruling party’s BDP GS-26 will come with all guns blazing after an embarrassing defeat in the previous elections. Preparations have been made and the GS-26 is looking to take the elections by storm.

According to their Presidential Candidate Boniface Seane, they come with the message of hope that addresses the current status quo at the University.“The university is not functioning so we drew three policies that embrace inclusiveness. We want to lead collectively with the students, through the student body meetings which the previous SRCs have failed to do. “We will consult with the students with no discrimination.”

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Healthcare system to improve

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The Health ministry has developed a seven-point programme to guide the country in improving the healthcare system, says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Rabashemi Madigele.

“The seven priority areas will serve as a roadmap and a guardian angel towards improving the overall healthcare system and increasing access to health care while fighting the burden of disease that confronts us,” said Madigele at Masa Square Hotel on Tuesday.

The focal areas include decentralisation; Universal Health Coverage, Tertiary Care, Strategic leveraging on the Private sector; Supply Chain; Research as well as Staff welfare and accountability.
Point-one of the seven priority areas according to Dr Madigele is about empowering the District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) and transforming them into fully fledged Regional Health Authorities.

“In this case, they will be rationalised from 27 to 18 and have the authority to hire A and B Scales, promote up to C1 and manage micro procurement,” he said. Point two is about improving the quality of healthcare services. “The main causes of mortality and their risk factors in Botswana are Primary Health Care issues,” Dr Madigele said.

He added that “Our efforts for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage should thus focus on: Prevention; Comprehensive screening; Early treatment; and Surveillance at the community.”
This he said, would require revamped grassroots efforts in which adequate numbers of community health workers through partnerships with the non-governmental sector will be deployed as necessary.

According to Dr Madigele, the top five causes of death in Botswana in 2017 were HIV/AIDS, Ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and Diabetes. He said compared to 2007, NCDs among these had increased in burden by an average of 34%. The top five risk factors related to these causes of mortality were unsafe sex; poor diet; high blood pressure; alcohol abuse and tobacco use.

Improving the quality of care, Madigele said will also include the safety and security of patients; attitudes of staff as experienced by patients; time taken in queues either before seeing a health worker or receiving medication and the availability of drugs.

Meanwhile, the health minister revealed that the commissioning of Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is ongoing with the facility scheduled for opening on April 24th. “This will be a phased approach commencing with some services including paediatric oncology, internal medicine, rheumatology and endocrinology, diagnostic radiology, laboratory services and pharmacy”.

A phased commissioning of SKMTH will reduce overdependence on South Africa for referrals, reduce costs and also institutionalise provision of super specialist services within Botswana.

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