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Please summon me—Justice

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By MFANUKHONA NKAMBULE - SWAZI TIMES-30-Aug-2009

MBABANE— Pastor Justice Dlamini of the Mbabane Worship Centre yesterday pronounced his wish is to get an opportunity to preach the truth to labadzala, the elders of Ludzidzini Royal Residence who were irked by his comments on the nation’s sacred ceremony,

In an interview, Pastor Dlamini said he wished he was summoned to the royal residence to give clarity on his sermon delivered a fortnight ago at Somhlolo national stadium.

This has led traditional authority to summon the Conference of Swaziland Churches to Ludzidzini to explain how the incwala, the perceived sacred ceremony of the Swazi nation was painted black during a church service hosted by the conference. Pastor Justice said he was not scared of being hauled before the traditional council because he was doing the work of God. “I am not scared at all because what I am doing is the work of my God. I am not on a showing off mission but in a serving-my-God mission. I would be very happy if they call me so that I can preach the truth to them,” said the pastor. He chose to be brief on this matter because he was looking forward to a meeting with the elders where he would be afforded an opportunity to put his finger on the verses that supported his sermon.

Has Pastor Justice won round one?

LUDZIDZINI—It seems Pastor Justice Dlamini of the Worship Centre has won round one of the investigation launched by traditional leaders to ascertain if he indeed preached derogatorily against the sacred ceremony, Incwala at Somhlolo national stadium a fortnight ago.

When leaders of the Conference of Swaziland Churches appeared before the elders at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence this week, they were ordered to surrender tapes that contained Pastor Justice’s sermon. Well placed sources told the Times SUNDAY that the Bishop Stephen Masilela-led conference did not produce the tapes on grounds that the service held solely to pray for the country was not recorded on tapes. It has been established that Bishop Masilela apologised to traditional authorities for not producing the tapes because there was nobody hired to video-shoot it.

Bishop Masilela could only say there were several issues that were looked into but requested this newspaper to give him some time to monitor the situation closely. He said he was uncomfortable at that moment to talk about it publicly because Pastor Justice’s church remained a registered member of the conference.

Benefit

Royal sources said the traditional men did not benefit much in terms of obtaining evidence against Pastor Justice and what the leaders of conference said by word did not help the interrogators to establish a winnable case. Our sister publication, the Times reported that the charismatic pastor preached strongly that the sacred ceremony in Swazi context allowed practices that were sheer abomination to the Man above. As a result, traditional authorities are reportedly angry with the pastor for allegedly painting incwala black. “What was said by Bishop Masilela and his men cannot be used as evidence because they are reluctant to testify against their fellow colleague. It could be shameful for them to testify against Pastor Justice and I understand they are not prepared to go on trial to shoot down their own man,” said the well placed source who attended the hearing.

Depend

Our investigations are telling us that the next stop for traditional authorities is to entirely depend on a reporter and police notebooks, but they are reportedly reluctant to approach the reporter. Police who were present are yet to indicate if they have something tangible to say in case the matter was taken further. Traditional authorities were also skeptical of deliberating upon the Pastor Justice sermon in a civil court because of constitutional clauses that legalised the freedom of expression and freedom of worship, which, may require government to solicit a high level of legal eagles to argue over the statement perceived to be seditious or too close to sedition.

Summon

Instead, the next route may be to summon Pastor Justice and his chief to Ludzidzini for a culture-based hearing where he can part with cattle, the sources said and further explaining that information gathered was that Pastor Justice is close to royalty and comes from umphakatsi from an undisclosed community, hence, his case may reveal more as he is privy to royal insides. Interviewed pastors want to remain anonymous when they defend Pastor Justice in fear of victimisation or possible arrest.

One of them yesterday said the Worship Centre pastor preached under the anointing of God and whosoever troubled him or questioned him was directly and indirectly undermining the sovereignty of God in Heaven who created the earth, inclusive of Swaziland herself. The pastor said traditional authorities should tread carefully lest they find themselves to have censored God’s message to a point of angering Him.

Acting Governor of Ludzidzini Royal Residence T.V. Mtsetfwa said he was too engaged in traditional assignments and did not have time to apply himself to the matter. Ludzidzini is the country’s traditional headquarters where events of national significance are held, including the appointment of a prime minister and dissolution of parliame


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