Elcin pastor says he’s unwanted

Joseph Shikuma

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) pastor Joseph Shikuma of the Eheke Parish has rejected his transfer to Mesias Parish, saying the church leadership is embarrassed after he went public about N$3,4 million in public funds went missing.

In a letter to the Elcin western diocese leadership on Monday, Shikuma disputes the validity of the transfer to Mesias Parish.

He said he did not know where the Mesias Parish was located but after asking around, managed to locate it near Rosh Pinah in the //­Kharas region.

According to him, neither he, nor the Eheke parish council were consulted before the decision was made.

Shikuma shot into the limelight when he registered a criminal complaint with the police against three church officials over a missing N$3,4 million, in January last year.

The money was paid by the finance ministry for outstanding rentals, repairs and renovations at primary schools at Ongwediva and Okahao.

The money was paid to the Elcin Western diocese about seven years ago.

He also claims that the western diocese violated the provisions of the church’s constitution, which requires a three-month notice period for transfers.

Shikuma said the reasons for the transfer were also not provided.

If he had done anything wrong at the Eheke parish or in the diocese, he should have been given the opportunity to defend himself against any alleged wrongdoing, he said.

“I don’t know why I should be sent far from my family. I have a family, my house is in Ombalantu. Why do they want me to travel 800km from here to Windhoek and about 700km from Windhoek to Rosh Pinah?

“I am not going there. What they need to do now is to withdraw the letter,” he told The Namibian yesterday.

SUSPICIOUS DELIVERY

Shikuma alleged that the transfer letter was delivered unsealed to a local cuca shop, raising concerns about confidentiality and intent.

The transfer coincides with critical activities like schooling for his children, farming and business ventures, potentially causing hardship for his family.

Shikuma expressed deep disappointment and accused the Elcin western diocese leadership of harbouring personal animosity towards him.

He said he worked for the church for 28 years.

“They want to send me to a synagogue because I exposed the missing of N$3,4 million. I am not going there. I am not a child and I am not ready to go and stay far from my family. I am not prepared to do that. What projects are at Mesias that require my expertise?”

While acknowledging his right to refuse the transfer, Shikuma said he reserved his legal rights, should the diocese attempt to enforce the transfer.

Elcin moderator Gideon Niitenge told The Namibian yesterday that Shikuma was not the only one transferred as he too had been transferred, as per Elcin rules and procedures.

He also threatened to punch the journalist if his name were to appear in the newspaper.

Ongwediva Elcin parish pastor Aina Sheefeni, who delivered Shikuma’s transfer letter, said she called Shikuma on Friday but he did not answer her calls.

She was then advised to drop the letter at a cuca shop owned by one of the congregants of the Eheke parish.

“It’s not true that the letter was not sealed, and it was not wrong to drop the letter at the shebeen because I was referred there by the parish official,” she said.

She maintained that Shikuma does not answer her calls when she calls him.

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