A TEAM of Registrar of Societies and Department of Immigration officers yesterday raided 25 churches in Kitwe’s Bulangililo and apprehended eight suspected illegal immigrants, including two pastors.
And there was commotion at Ramah Full Gospel Church when some members became unruly after their reverend Gift Mwambagweshi, a suspected illegal immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was picked up for screening by immigration officers.
Chief Registrar of Societies Kakoma Kanganja, who led the operation, said Government is concerned with illegal activities taking place in some churches throughout the country.
Mr Kanganja said random inspections are being conducted in line with Chapter 199 of the Laws of Zambia.
“Government is concerned with the illegal activities being conducted in the name of the church. this is why Government, through the office of the Registrar of Societies, has moved in to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of churches,” Mr Kanganja said.
He said his office has embarked on random inspection of churches countrywide to get rid of “bad eggs”.
“A church is supposed to be a holy place but it is sad that some of the things that have been happening recently are a matter of concern. We are cleansing the church to ensure we bring sanity to the house of God,” Mr Kanganja said.
He is concerned about the low levels of compliance by most churches in terms of submitting annual returns.
Mr Kanganja was shocked that most churches his team inspected did not have valid registration certificates and have not been submitting annual returns as required by law.
He also said the Registrar of Societies will soon be computerised to monitor the operations of churches countrywide.
“Government has given us K1.5 million for this project. By the end of the year, we will be computerised and we will be able to monitor these churches,” he said.
Ministry of Home Affairs spokesperson Moses Suwali urged churches operating in makeshift structures to construct permanent buildings.
Meanwhile, members of Ramah Full Gospel Church showered a tirade of profanity on journalists and officers from the Ministry of home Affairs whom they accused of being possessed by demons for allegedly disturbing their service.
“Why have you failed to close down bars and nightclubs? there are people who drink and insult. you have demons and you don’t know God, why didn’t you choose another day to conduct your operations,” a visibly annoyed congregant said.
Those apprehended are Danny Zulu, Joseph Mulenga, Gift Mwambagweshi, Clement Mulenga, Sarah Chanda, Joseph Kabwe and Christian Kashala, who are suspected DRC nationals, and Ehirim Vistusmodestus, a Nigerian.
Zambia Daily Mail