Ban of churches receives mixed feelings

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Ban of churches receives mixed feelings

Lusaka, July 28, 2014, ZANIS……The Independent Churches of Zambia (ICOZ) has called on the Registrar of Societies to harmonize the Act of registering Faith-based organizations in the country.

ICOZ says this is one way of getting rid of illegal churches mushrooming in the country.

ICOZ Board Chairperson Bishop David Masupa observed that illegal activities occurring in some churches are a disgrace to a Christian nation like Zambia.

Bishop Masupa urged government through the Ministry of Home Affairs to come up with measures to ensure that all churches are registered with the Registrar of Societies.

Bishop Masupa in an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today said the Society should thoroughly screen people intending to establish churches in compounds and townships before registering them to operate in the country.

 The Clergyman regretted the Chibolya and Kabwata incidents in which two churches were yesterday shut down by government for operating illegally saying they painted a bad image to churches that have been operating in Zambia for many years.

Meanwhile, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) Executive Director Pukuta Mwanza has called on government to be conscious in handling matters surrounding the banning of faith based organisations.

Rev. Mwanza says issues that concern the clergymen and women should be separated from that of the name of a church.

He said closing the entire church is not a solution as other innocent members would still want to congregate and continue worshipping in the church building.

Over the weekend, a joint team of Police, Immigration and Registrar of Societies officers apprehended more than 200 illegal immigrants and refugees in Chibolya and Kabwata township without permits, among them church leaders on suspicion of conducting illegal activities such as abductions and sexual abuses.

The operation resulted in the ban of the Free Pentecost Assemblies operating from Kabwata Community Hall with more than 600 members.

The team led by Chief Registrar of Societies Kakoma Kanganja and Ministry of Home Affairs Public Relations Officer Moses Suwali raided some churches from where suspects were taken to Immigration Offices for further screening .

Mr. Suwali said Government is also concerned that some churches were harbouring illegal immigrants which was against the laws of Zambia.

He said the operation was a wake-up call for other churches, institutions and individuals who were using churches as a frontlines for conducting illegal activities.