Power struggle tears ELCRN apart
A raging power struggle within the “house of God” is threatening to tear apart the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia as two senior members are now challenging the legitimacy of five aspirants to the position of Bishop.
A court application has been lodged before High Court Judge Hosea Angula whose merits will mark the legal battle set to play out this week Tuesday.
At the centre of the ugly fight is Welfried Leiden !Naibab and Seth !Gaeb who have dragged the church, bishop Ernst Gamxamub and prominent deputy bishop Paul Kisting before the court of law.
The two are challenging the legitimacy of Kisting, Johannes de Klerk, Andreas !Nowaseb, Petrus Khariseb and Simo Tiboth for the candidacy of bishop.
ln respect to Kisting and Tiboth, by law 26.1.1 of the ELCRN’s constitution, the candidates for the position of the Bishop should be between the ages of 45 and 60, both claim in their court papers.
“It is thus common cause that once you have reached the age of 60 you do not qualify to be nominated to stand for the position. The first respondent (the church) in its affidavit rightfully confirms that the 3rd respondent (Kisting) was born on 11 December 1957, meaning he turned 60 in December 2017.”
“We submit that he ceased to be eligible to stand for the position upon attainment of the age of 60. The same applies to the 21st respondent (!Nowaseb) who turned 60 in December 2018,” they further allege.
Before the matter spilled in the court, there had been attempts, from within, to stop the election of a new bishop which had been scheduled for this month.
A letter dated 13 February 2019 from unhappy church members was penned to ELCRN electoral commission chairperson, George Pimpanaus Dax which sought to also trash the elections.
In the meantime, Ileni Gebhardt is representing the applicants while the 23 respondents are being represented by Advocate Muhongo.
Apollos Shimakeleni of Apollos Shimakeleni Lawyers is representing the church.