Shembe Church feud: faction leader denies he was suspended

2010-09-28 00:00

ONE of the key leaders involved in ongoing conflict in the Nazareth Baptist Church — also known as the Shembe Church — has denied allegations that he was suspended from the church following, among other things, allegations of misappropriation of church funds.

The Witness has reliably learnt from more than one source within the Shembe church that Edward Velemafini Ximba, the general secretary of the second biggest of the three Shembe factions, the Ekuphakameni group under Inkosi Vukile Shembe, was suspended on Sunday.

The suspension was allegedly ordered by some priests and an influential KZN north coast inkosi who is close to the leader of the Ekuphakameni faction.

The suspension was effected after allegations surfaced that Ximba was misappropriating the church’s funds, among other serious personal allegations.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Ximba denied that he is under suspension and said Inkosi Vukile is also not aware of the alleged suspension.

“As I am speaking to you, I am at Ekuphakameni with Inkosi and we are both surprised to hear about this suspension.

“There are people who have got their own agenda and are spreading lies about me.

“I don’t report to anyone but Inkosi yaseKuphakameni as I was appointed by him. He has asked me to continue with my work, despite these ongoing allegations,” Ximba said.

The Shembe church is divided into three factions: Ekuphakameni; eBuhleni, the biggest, under Inkosi Vimbeni Shembe; and Ginyezinye under Inkosi Sizwe Mudliwamafa Shembe, which is based in Trust Feed outside Pietermaritzburg.

The three factions are locked in a high court battle that is expected to decide who is the rightful leader of the church.

Ximba emphasised that since he became the general secretary of the church, he has never been involved in the church’s finances “as there is an ordained priest who is the treasurer”.

“My relationship with Inkosi Shembe is without any hindrances as I represented him during the South African Traditional Music Awards [Satma] at the weekend,” he added.

“What these faceless people are doing is character assassination. They have failed to degrade my name legally and are now using rumours and allegations.”

Ximba, who is also the spokesperson for Inkosi Vukile, said the Inkosi denied that he was ever informed about Ximba’s suspension and that Ximba is still the general secretary and spokesperson for the church.

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