|'I Lied about Priest'
By Joseph Zulu
Times of Swaziland
October 20, 2010
SITEKI – A man who reported Father Emmanuel Luthaya to the police for indecent assault confessed to having lied.
Luthaya, the former Priest of the Good Shepherd Catholic Mission, was forced to abandon the Mission where he was based after pressure from congregants when the allegations were levelled against him.
The priest was accused of many indiscretions by a youth, Sipho Vilane, who stormed the police station last year to ‘report’ his allegations.
Sipho Vilane alleged that the priest had indecently assaulted him, resulting in the youth of the church protesting against the priest to the extent that police had to be called in to calm the situa- tion.
Vilane has now changed his tune and claims he was influenced by others to lie about the priest.
"I have now seen that what I did has tarnished the name of the church and I want to come clean," said Vilane.
He blamed the youth of the church for making him lie about the priest.
"It was a setup to force Luthaya out so that he could be replaced by one of the priests who is loved by many," he said.
He accused one of the priests of colluding with some of the congregants in an attempt to have him removed.
Trouble between the two priests is said to have started over the use of church funds when the priest accused Luthaya of sending money to his home country in Uganda.
Vilane alleged, that when the priest failed to remove Luthaya, he allegedly influenced the youth to protest against him.
The youth then locked up the church on a Sunday in November last year and demanded the dismissal of Luthaya.
A court order had to be issued to stop the youth from protesting and police were deployed to attend Sunday service.
The priest, when contacted, said he was not aware of any ploy to remove Luthaya.
He said all the other parishes were doing well, save for the Good Shepherd Mission, which has a lot of complications due to people pointing fingers at each other.
Speaking on behalf of the youth, Nhlanhla Dlamini expressed shock when told about Vilane’s statements.
"He is the one who approached us. He confessed before the station commander. We didn’t force or influence him to say that," said Dlamini.
Dlamini said the youth were in a meeting at the police station with Luthaya when Vilane made the accusations.
Another member of the youth, who asked to remain anonymous, also expressed shock and said she did not understand the sudden change of events.
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