Okahao ELCIN congregation rejects Bishop


The Okahao congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) in the Omusati Region boycotted church service on Sunday due to the presence of Bishop Josaphat Shanghala of the Western Dioceses.

The Okahao congregation also falls under Shanghala’s dioceses. Its members have been at loggerheads with Shanghala for about a year now, accusing him of autocratic leadership.

Early last year, members of that congregation staged a motorcade march from Okahao to the ELCIN head office at Oniipa in the Oshikoto Region, where they demanded Shanghala’s removal.

This followed the decision by the leadership of the Western Dioceses to transfer Reverend Hulda Shau-Haitana from Okahao to the Okambebe ELCIN Church in the Ohangwena Region.

Members of the Okahao congregation are still objecting Shau-Haitana’s transfer and, as such, the relationship between them and Shanghala continues to deteriorate.

Secretary of the ELCIN Western Dioceses, Reverend Paulus Heita, in a brief telephonic interview with Nampa on Sunday evening, confirmed the congregation’s unhappiness with Shanghala’s presence at their church.

“I cannot confirm whether they went ahead with the church service, because we left them still gathered on the church premises after they told us that we were not welcome at their church,” Heita said.

He indicated that two letters informing the Okahao congregation about Shangala’s visit to Okahao were issued by the dioceses office on 31 January and on 06 February this year.

The dioceses office did not receive any proper response to the two letters, Heita said.