Land row, splits Pentecostal church

KIGALI –A Pentecostal church pastor is currently being held by Bugesera police over selling a piece of land that belongs to the church and taking off with the proceeds.

KIGALI –A Pentecostal church pastor is currently being held by Bugesera police over selling a piece of land that belongs to the church and taking off with the proceeds.

According to church sources, Pastor Dominic Twagiramugabe, of The Door Christian Fellowship Church (TDCFC), authorised the sale of the land, without the knowledge of the church board.

Twagiramugabe who has so far spent two weeks in police custody is accused of selling the 40/38 square metres of land and vanishing with the proceeds estimated to be at Rwf 1.6 million.

The land was sold by Jean de Dieu Twizeyimana on behalf of pastor Twagiramugabe.

Twizeyimana is also in police custody.

Twagiramugabe had served as the church’s first vice Legal Representative in the country until mid June this year when he resigned from his post citing personal matters.

“I acknowledge that I have offered this resignation of my own free will and without any form of coercion or pressure from anyone,” reads part of his resignation letter, a copy of which The New Times has obtained.

But sources say he had not been on good terms with church leader, American Pastor James D. Schulze over a period of time.

The controversial American pastor is accused by some sections of the church of forcing his way into the church leadership.

When The New Times contacted one member of the congregation, Jean Olivier Twahirwa, he alleged that Pastor Schulze has divided the church into factions by favouring some at the expense of others, and accused him of harbouring genocide ideology.

“He has incited hatred among the congregation, and to some extent he referred to Hutus as Hondas and to Tutsis as Toyotas,” said the seemingly agitated Twahirwa in an interview, adding that Schulze used to tell Christians that they should not accept to be lead by Toyotas.

This, according to Twahirwa, is one of the points where the two pastors disagreed.

This is not the first time that worshipers have accused the American pastor of harbouring Genocide ideology.

According to a 2005 letter of which The New Times has obtained a copy, two of the founding pastors of TDCFC, wrote to the Ministry of Local Government appealing for an investigation into the mismanagement of funds and discrimination within the seven year old church.

“Basing on his continued discrimination policies and seeing that he doesn’t know to work for the unity of Rwanda, we request that James D. Schulze and his wife be sent back home,” reads one of the recommendations made by Pastors Sylvan Uwiringiye and Protais Nshogoza who authored the three-page letter.

When contacted for comment, Pastor Schulze said that he couldn’t comment on the case, saying investigations are still underway to prove whether Twagiramugabe is innocent or guilty.

“What I know is that there is evidence that he was involved in selling of the land,” Schulze said.

The Christian Fellowship Church was founded in 2003 by a group of five Pentecostal Pastors made up of American James D. Schulze and his wife Leiah Schulze, Richard Taddwa, Sylvan Uwiringiye and Protais Nshogoza.

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