UPDATE 12:26 PDT: The information on this subject is now coming in and this update will provide further answers.
Lifenets USA had no authority to grant property rights regarding cattle in Zambia. The cattle were given to Lifenets Zambia which is a Zambian independently incorporated charity in association with an independently incorporated local Zambian church. The independent Zambian incorporation was to comply with Zambian law regarding charities
It is this local Zambian charity and church whose board voted to withdraw its “Association” with UCG aia, and it has total control over the property rights of these cattle. As the court has ruled in response to a Kubik lawsuit regarding other property rights, these organizations outside the independently Zambian incorporated church and charity; have no standing on the matter.
The church in Zambia was always incorporated locally and was one of those groups “Associated” with UCG aia. They have a Board in Zambia and that Board makes the decision to remain “Associated” or leave the “Association”. There was never a church functioning as a part of UCG in Zambia, only an independent Zambian church which chose to associate with the UCG aia
The Board chose to withdraw from “Association” with UCG aia and to “Associate” with COGWA. Vic Kubik then tried to sue in court claiming that various property rights belonged to Lifenets UCG aia and not to the independent church in Zambia and the court rejected any standing for Kubik or UCG aia as they had never been in legal control of the Zambia church which was an independent group registered in Zambia.
Lifenets was incorporated in Zambia by the locally incorporated church in Zambia. And while “Associated” with UCG aia received help in the form of cattle from the Kubik led USA incorporated Lifenets.
When the board in Zambia chose to change its affiliated “Association”, some of those in the local Zambia incorporated church rejected their board decision and wanted to split off and continue in “Association” with UCG aia. UCG aia, Kubik, Lifenets then claimed that they owned the cattle, or that their local farmers owned the cattle; which they did not,[except for those redeemed with a calf] having given them to the incorporated Lifenets Zambia and the incorporated independent church in Zambia.
The court has ruled that Kubik, UCG aia and Lifenets USA have no standing in any property rights matter which is an internal Zambian matter involving the issues within an internal Zambian incorporated church and charity.
The Zambian church and charity were always independent of UCG aia and Lifenets USA; although they were voluntarily associated and worked together.
For some reason Vic Kubik is trying to make this into a COGWA UCG aia issue when it is not, his reasons are known to himself alone.
The local police have returned certain animals until the final court decision on the internal split within the Zambian corporation is made. This is a matter of a coming decision on the internal Zambian church charity situation and has nothing to do with any organization incorporated outside of Zambia. It also has nothing to do with any stealing and is a simple property dispute within the incorporated Zambian church and charity.
I had very much wanted to take today off, but the amount of mail on the Zambia situation requires a response. If your email or comment was not answered or posted I am answering it here.
For those who objected to my comments regarding Vic I can only say that it was his responsibility to bring any errors to my attention as per Mat 18 and he has not done so. My information is coming from others and from internet research.
Again I point out that Vic did not contact me as per the command of Christ on the matter. And I will stand on the point that this is a property dispute and NOT any theft; therefore to label this as a theft is indeed slanderous. This has reached the pitch of high emotion and we have forgotten the words of our Lord.
Let both sides calm down, take a deep breath and pray that God will work everything out according to his will and for his greater glory and the good of his people. This has become a shame and a blot on our garments and needs to be remedied without delay. This dispute is bringing disgrace on the saints and MUST be immediately worked out.
The COG in Zambia was an independent body with a council that decided on whom they would associate with. They had decided to associate with UCG in years previous but during the split decided to associate with COGWA which was within their constitution. Banda is highly educated and would not require any polishing to his letter. The content and style seemed consistent through the letter; though, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t edited. A friend of mine upon hearing the story just said, “I just feel like grabbing a pen and writing a check to be done with this.”
The property is owned by the local organization led by Banda and they have full ownership and control. UCG Zambai was an independent local organization with the right to dissassociate itself from UCG, aia whenever they wanted. Neither Kubik nor UCG,aia have any standing or say in this matter. The only possible issue is a property disputs with a few farmers who may have redeemed their animal with a calf. That would be a property dispute and NOT theft. Kubik is way out of line on this.
Lifenets; do the godly thing and say to Banda and those with him: You ARE our brothers even if we disagree on leadership organizations. These animals were given to serve all those in the original organization; including those who have now left as well as those who remained with us; when we were together. Let them be divided in direct relationship to the numbers leaving or staying and let those redeemed animals be untouchable as personal property.
Kambani Banda; reach out and work to resolve this issue by taking the high road and giving up any claims that may be disputed, asking COGWA for the relatively small amount needed to replace these few animals.
Gentlemen: THINK! Is the Kingdom of God and our reputation and example worth so very little that they cannot compare to a few animals? THINK on what you are doing!
SHAME on BOTH sides that you are not willing to suffer a temporary loss for the reputation of the assembly, and the good reputation of the saints. Are you not willing to give up so little for the “Pearl of Great Price”? Have we forgotten Abraham who said to Lot, “go take the better land my nephew”!
Where is our love for the brethren that are not willing to make some sacrifice for them? This is a physical matter that has profound spiritual implications. WHERE IS YOUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER?
Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
We have become so wrapped up in: I, Me, Mine; Me, Myself and I in our organizations that we have forgotten the things that really matter.
Where is your faith? Do you not know that God provides for the righteous? And that he will abandon the evil doer? Therefore remain strong to do right and to go the extra mile to endure hurt for the sake of righteousness. Why cannot UCG with all their millions spare a couple of thousand [probably their bar bill for a conference] to help you? Why cannot COGWA do the same and set up its own program?
There appears to have been much wrongdoing in Zambia and I invite both sides to present the true facts for publication. Forget all the blaming and accusations and just present the facts. Maybe this can still be worked out in a civilized manner.
I will begin by posting the latest from Victor Kubik and then follow up with further information.
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Updated October 10, 2011
GREAT NEWS!! In one of the areas where the cattle given by LifeNets “Pass on the Gift” program was taken, the police ordered that four head of cattle be returned to owners immediately without conditions. We have not heard yet from the other area which is some distance away. We are appalled by the false stories circulating minimizing the huge consequences on poor people. We are leaving for the Fall Festival in Estonia in a few moments, but wanted to get this update to you. After the Festival, we will have written reports exact detailing all that happened. We thank you for your prayers and are thankful for the redemption.
Updated October 9, 2011
Updated Statement and Prayer Request
Zambia Members Cattle Stolen
Since the announcement of the worldwide prayer request for members of the United Church of God in Zambia who had their cattle taken from them and their livelihoods threatened, a number of people have asked for additional information. Also, a considerable amount of outright fabricated information making false accusations has been posted on the Internet. To help people understand why a prayer request for Zambia members – which is still valid — was initiated, following is a timeline of events. As noted in the original prayer request, God is fully aware of the scope of these events and what truly happened. We appeal to Him to intervene and set matters aright.
Despite what is falsely alleged in recent postings on the Internet, Victor Kubik made numerous attempts to contact Kambani Banda in Zambia during 2011, including several attempts during a trip to that country earlier this year. Those attempts to achieve peaceful resolution were all rebuffed. To claim otherwise is sadly ludicrous. Regarding the current situation, here the facts. These documents can speak for themselves:
September 25, 2011: The first report of stolen cattle came from Wilson Nkoma to Victor Kubik “Willard Katapya and Armstrong Maninga are the two in the Kasumpa area with five(5) oxen. Willard lost two and Armstrong three, all taken by force ………..” “ The two men who took the cattle promised to come back later to collect the plough and other implements.”
September 28, 2011: Victor Kubik contacted Kambani Banda by e-mail regarding the reports received from Zambia of cattle being taken from UCG members (read entire e-mail here) . The e-mail carefully documents the nature and history of the oxen program. The e-mail requests that the oxen be returned.
September, 30, 2011: Kambani Banda responds back two days later with an e-mail that is fragmented in content
(read entire e-mail here). He says he has no involvement, suggests that local members “complain to the courts in Zambia” if they want resolution.
October 1, 2011: Another report comes from Zambia that two more cattle were taken from UCG members, which now makes a total of seven cattle that were reported to us to be taken from UCG members.
October 6, 2011 In the absence of further communication from Kambani Banda and in light of additional reports of oxen theft being received, it is decided to ask members worldwide to pray and ask God for the resolution of the matter. A formal prayer request is prepared and distributed.
October 6, 2011 In the absence of peaceful resolution by other means, the UCG members in Zambia go to local police to solicit assistance.
Following these events, a number of outright fabrications have appeared online, which do nothing to resolve the issue. Another “response” from Kambani Banda, this one dramatically different from his original communication and highly polished in tone, has appeared with numerous fabrications. The sequence of the events outlined above (together with the attendant documents and facts) will set the record straight.
THE BANDA LETTER
1) It appears that the letter has been edited and polished, which does not mean that it did not come from him.
2) The letter did say that any cow could be redeemed with a calf and become the personal property of the farmer, and that there was a mix of personally owned and community owned animals.
THE FARMER’S OWNERSHIP
Any cattle that have been previously redeemed with a calf are the property of the farmer; any cattle NOT redeemed revert to the Common Pool when their loan period ends.
It would be stealing to take that which has been redeemed; and it would by stealing [of the animals production] to retain possession beyond the loan due date.
THESE ARE ALL LEGAL ISSUES: WHAT ARE OUR SPIRITUAL OBLIGATIONS?
Mat 5 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
21Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Mat 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
I just want to say that if Lifenets is a true charity dedicated to godliness and serving the brethren: What doe s it matter which group those brethren are in, as long as they worship the same God and keep his commandments to the very best of their understanding?
This is all about a property dispute and is NOT about any theft! To go so far as to label this as theft is indeed slanderous.
As each side seeks to trumpet the “Servant Guide” attitude of leadership and the way of “LOVE”; Where is the Love?
Where is the love of the parent organizations who should be willing to each set up a new system for their brethren and spend a few thousand to remedy any issues? Is that not what the third tithe is for?
Why the emphasis on the “poor victim farmer” to generate an emotional response and anger against our brethren; while the responsibilities of the organizations to help care for their “poor farmers” out of their “welfare fund” or even “general fund” are not even mentioned? Why do these groups not simply ask for a special offering for this purpose?
THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR THIS DISPUTE IF WE HAD BEEN OBEYING OUR GOD!
Remember the two foundational commandments and begin to practice them!
Mat 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38This is the first and great commandment.
39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
If God’s law was practiced and his way of love; there would be no real dispute at all! There would be no going to law and no bitter feelings; only a mutually caring effort to help one another.
And if the love is one sided; you can go your way knowing that you have done the right thing by your brother and your God! Knowing that we shall be judged by what WE do, and not by the acts of others.
It is to our great shame that we preach love and practice selfishness.
I feel that this comment should be included in this post.
James, I think you and I are in full agreement on this matter. I’ve refrained from public commenting on this topic so far, but I have done some research (through Kubic’s own site) and come up with the following information. You may already be aware of it, but stating in a plain way for any other readers here.
Lifenets was incorporated as a legal and local entity in Zambia with Mr Banda as the President of the chapter. Lifenets Zambia is a separate (but associated) entity than Lifenets. Lifenets Zambia appears to hold on all the legal titles to the property there.
An article on Kubic’s stated that a requirement for Zambian law with the charity they were setting up was membership specifications. They stated that membership with Lifenets-Zambia was contingent upon being associated with UCG.
Now, I do not know when they incorporated as UCG-Zambia. But based on the laws already shown (especially the membership requirement), based on the common practices of local entities, UCG-Zambia was -likely- incorporated even prior to Lifenets. (Someone will have to correct this if wrong)
Now, as Mr Banda is the elder in charge there and a majority of the brethren left UCG,aia it’s likely that UCG-Zambia entirely stopped association with UCG,aia. Which would mean that the assets remain in full care and control of Lifenets and UCG-Zambia (which is likely now renamed/rebranded as COG-Zambia). And there is definitely a lot more to the Zambia situation than is publicly known right now.
I’ll reserve judgment on the truthfulness of how much of what has been said by either Kubic or Banda. My opinion there does not matter so much as the facts and implications thereof. And that in the end, none of this would be a problem if everyone involved acted with Christian love.
It seems clear that the property is owned by Banda and the Zambian charity and church and that Vic Kubik and UCG,aia has no standing or claim. The issue may come to whether some still with UCG,aia had redeemed cattle and did have personal ownership. In any event this is a property dispute and NOT theft.