ELCRN defends controversial synod

03 September 2019 | Social Issues

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELRCN) has distanced itself from the violence that broke out during the elections held at its Mariental parish last week, which elected pastor Sagues

/Keib as new bishop.

The new deputy bishop is Abraham //Kheibeb.

The church said the inauguration will take place on 3 November at the Okahandja parish because the terms of the outgoing bishop, Ernest //Gamxamub, and his deputy, Hatani Kisting, expire on that day.

The church also defended its deputy bishop, Hatani Kisting, who allegedly assaulted a woman at the just-ended synod where /Keib was elected. The church also made it clear that Kisting had not resigned from his position, contrary to media reports.

Kisting, who was contesting for the position of bishop against /Keib, and his wife have been accused of having assaulted one of /Keib's supporters during the elections.

During a press briefing held on Monday, synod chairperson Jack Manale said the church had taken note that there were serious attempts to defame and discredit the person of Kisting and to paint an unbecoming and malicious picture of the church leadership.

“The further details are subject to police investigations but we can confirm that that no point did Kisting physically assault a woman at the venue during the synod. According to witnesses, what was exaggerated and sensationalised was a confrontation that took place outside the synod meeting hall between uninvited groups and some delegates,” he said.

Manale also rebuffed claims that the weekend's elections were rigged, adding that the election took place under the guidance of the ELCRN nomination and electoral commission.

“The electoral commission acknowledges the challenges it had within the process as this was the first time in the history of ELCRN where members were directly voting for bishop and deputy bishop in terms of the new constitution and electoral rules and regulations of the church. Therefore, allegations by some that certain processes were unconstitutional or some candidates were not legitimated are baseless,” he said. Manale added that the motions for nullification of the elections and results were submitted, debated and voted upon.

“The motion for the nullification of the elections and the results was rejected and consequently the results were counted and releases as per Synod Agenda,” he said.

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JEMIMA BEUKES

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