The Salvation Army says it will expel Dr Paul Thistle from the church if he continues to defy orders to

Howard hospital in Chiweshe

relocate to Canada. This follows reports that Dr Thistle, who was supposed to return to Canada last Sunday, had changed his position and was still in Zimbabwe. Hundreds of people in Chiweshe (Mashonaland Central), last week, demonstrated against the reassignment of Dr Thistle from Howard Mission Hospital to Canada.

The church’s territorial commander for Zimbabwe Commissioner Vinece Chigariro said last Sunday that Dr Thistle would be expelled if he fails to obey the orders from the church authorities. “If he refuses to go back, he ceases to be a Salvation Army officer. If he ceases to be a Salvation Army officer, we cannot do anything. It will be up to the government whether they want him or they don’t want him here.”

She said Dr Thistle was a Salvation Army officer and had signed a covenant with the church. “Now a person who has done this and ordained operates on a command. If the leadership says you are moving you don’t argue . . . You go. So Dr Thistle has been here for 17 years and this was his 18th year and the International headquarters in London decided to move him,” she said.

Chigariro said the decision to move Dr Thistle was not new in the church, as his predecessors had also been moved before.

She dismissed claims that his transfer was to cover up alleged theft and abuse of donor funds.
“The major thing is they are trying to justify Dr Thistles transfer. They think that I chased him. His transfer is from the International headquarters. When we get funds they are accounted for. We get donations from different countries not only Canada.

So for every cent that comes in, the policy is that it goes through our international headquarters, which then transfers the funds. When the funds come we are answerable even to the Government of Zimbabwe. They check our books and furthermore our international headquarters send international auditors every two years to check our books of accounts and we have never had any record of funds missing,’ she said.

To the Chiweshe community, Chigariro said, despite how much they feel they have lost, God who raised Howard hospital was going to provide somebody who was going to look after them health-wise and spiritually.

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