Maranatha pastors in power struggles

Power struggles continue to rock Maranatha Church mission of Rwanda as its leaders are all craving for the position of senior pastor.

Power struggles continue to rock Maranatha Church mission of Rwanda as its leaders are all craving for the position of senior pastor.

The church’s top leaders, Sadok Runezerwa and Fredrick Gafaranga are embroiled in a row over who should occupy the top seat.

Runezerwa claims he is the leader of Maranatha church, but Gafaranga charges that the former was deposed by the church’s general assembly last September.

“The same day he was sacked is when I (Gafaranga) was appointed the acting leader of the church for three years,” Gafaranga said.

But Runezerwa vehemently dismisses Gafaranga’s claim, he said: “I have never been relieved of my duties.”

The two pastors last week presented to The New Times contradicting lists of the church followers who are reportedly behind them.

Gafaranga’s list bore names of fifty-four members who allegedly seconded the decision by the church’s September General Assembly to fire Runezerwa.

But Runezerwa’s list had ninety members who last December challenged the appointment of Gafaranga to head the church. He said they petitioned Nyarugenge Prosecution.

Renezerwa accuses Gafaranga of conniving with four other pastors to oust him. He claimed the four are Ezechiel Nahayo, Moise Nkundabantu, Silas Mutware and Samson Rushikama.

But Gafaranga refuted the charge, saying: “I know he (Runezerwa) is good at telling lies. But what I can tell you is that no one among us has ever been disloyal to him.”

Recently, The New Times reported that Runezerwa and Gafaranga are entangled in another controversy involving donations worth Frw74 million.

The donations, including cash and equipment, were from the church’s sponsors in the US and Europe.

Runezerwa accuses Gafaranga of embezzling aid materials worth Frw53m from a US donor Samaritan Purse through Province of Episcopal Church in Rwanda (PEER) sent to the church in 2004. He also accuses Gafaranga of having embezzled another Frw21.6m from Norwegian and Swedish donors that was meant for the same children.

He also alleges that in November Gafaranga led a group of 20 supporters and violently disrupted a Sunday service.But Gafaranga rejected the accusations, shifting blame to Runezerwa. Ends

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