Botswana is one of the countries in the Southern Africa region that OAIC’s presence is felt. Archbishop Joseph Moatshe from St. Elinah Apostolic Church in Botswana was in Kenya recently and says that the African Independent Churches (AIC’s) in Botswana are doing well.

The Archbishop, who has been the head of the OAIC in his country since 1985, as well as the General Secretary of the OAIC in that region since 2008, says so far the country has 15 chapters to its name. Even with these feats, he says that financial constraints are sometimes a hindrance to carrying out his responsibilities.

“I am required to visit the 9 South African Development Countries but financial challenges have prevented me from doing so. I am however currently fundraising to ensure that I can visit all of those countries,” he states.

Statistics from Botswana’s Demographics Profile  2011,  indicate that  Botswana has a population of over 2 million people as per July 2011. This country still faces some challenges with regards to HIV/AIDS. The demographics indicate that in 2009 HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rates were at 24.8%, while people living with HIV/AIDS were estimated to be 320,000. Deaths caused due to HIV/AIDS related complications were at 5,800 annually during that period.

Moatshe has however been lauded for its efforts to manage the situation. The states that the government has been responsible in providing food for most of the needy persons as well People Living With HIV/AIDS.(PLWA) This he says has tremendously improved their livelihoods. A lot of awareness creation has been done with regards to leading positive lives for those infected. The OAIC in this region has been on the forefront in supporting  some of these initiatives by encouraging member churches to provide capacity for programmes spearheaded by the government.

“The OAIC member churches in this region have gained capacity from the government’s intervention as they encourage their members to participate fully in the startegies. They have also been involved in organizing workshops on diverse issues. A recently organised one saw marriage officers trained in Gaborone which has enhanced capacity building efforts for the members. We have in the recent past been involved in organizing several workshops with regards to various issues affecting the society which have brought together leaders and people from all walks of life and sectors of society to tackle issues arising in their respective areas and this has in a great way enlightened the populace on diverse issues,” Moatshe states.

The chapters have also recently held elections with Zimbabwe leading the way earlier this year. Before the end of the year, the Archbishop hopes that they will be able to conduct elections in Botswana which is part of a larger restructuring of the OAIC in the Southern region.

The Archbishop states that poverty is not a big issue per se due to government’s efforts in ensuring that many people lead average lives.

“There are programmes that have been created for the youths especially. The young people who are out of school have been considered greatly so ensure that they are not idle. There are also small grants for small projects initiate d by the youth and women. ICT and other projects also are being initiated. Women used to shy away from leadership and participating actively in decision making but at OAIC we are encouraging them to come up,” the Archbishop stated.

By: Fiona Imbali

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