Rwanda: Rubavu Clerics in Leadership, Financial Wrangles
14 June 2011
Rubavu — Police in Rubavu are questioning two pastors from the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in connection with internal wrangles concerning leadership amid allegations of misappropriation of funds.
During the interrogation, yesterday, a faction of followers supporting one of the pastors, Boniface Ruzagiriza, stormed Rubavu police station to show solidarity with the cleric who, they claim, was toppled by the church's Kigali headquarters.
The other pastor involved in the squabble is Bernard Ufitinema, president of the Holiness churches in Rwanda.
"The problem stems from the Rwf 2 million that the International Pentecostal Holiness released to renovate the Rubavu based church but we never received it," said Emmanuel Shumbusho, head of the choir.
The followers accuse Ufitinema of failing to disburse the funds with the intention of embezzlement.
"Pastor Boniface has shown tendencies of gross indiscipline which the church cannot tolerate, and that's why the general assembly resolved to expel him from church-related work," said Ufitinema.
However, a clique that sides with Ruzagiriza claim Ufitinema falsely accuses his colleague of adultery and alcoholism to tarnish his name so as to appoint his preferred choice.
"He is our pastor, we know him well, Ufitinema stays in Kigali. What does he understand about Ruzagiriza, save for selfish interests?" asked Shumbusho.
The disputed Rwf 2 million has since been withdrawn by the international Pentecostal Holiness Church pending investigations.
"We asked the church to tell us what the problem was, but Ufitinema said they didn't have any problem. We are now surprised to see the issue at the police," said Emmanuel Byabagabo, an official from the association of churches charged with solving and reconciling warring parties within churches.
Ruzagiriza dismisses the resolution of the general assembly which expelled him as illegal, unfair and biased.
"How could Ufitinema preside over the assembly and yet he has issues with me? He is not impartial and I am not surprised with the decision they reached," explained Ruzagiriza.
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