The Swapo Party Elders’ Council (SPEC) is gravely concerned about the mushrooming of bogus churches where self-proclaimed pastors pretend to preach the word of God and perform miracles, while robbing innocent citizens of their hard-earned cash.
Many bogus churches have also become ‘places of adultery,’ where self-proclaimed priests make followers believe they can be restored through so-called sexual healing.
On numerous occasions some phony churches have led followers into believing they can heal all kinds of ailments such as HIV/AIDS, among other chronic diseases.
Against this background, the SPEC has come out in support of the public’s concern about the ‘ungodly’ behaviour of bogus churches in the country.
Lately, churches have been springing up overnight, with front-runners claiming to be the final prophet or messenger from God or they simply promise you blessings and riches by having you hand over your money.
Equally, self-proclaimed pastors flaunt flashy cars and live in upper class suburbs, while many of their followers continue to live in despair.
The secretary of SPEC, Mukwaita Shanyengana, said the behaviour of such churches has brought confusion among communities as families are torn apart, divorces are rife and children abandon their parents.
There has also been increasing debate about the money-making business of churches, and why they continue to operate on a non-taxable basis.
Currently churches are registered as non-profit entities under Namibian law, hence they do not pay any tax to the state.
SPEC is particularly worried about the churches’ preaching of the possession and cleansing of demons among their devotees.
“Methods of cleansing demons range from washing victims in fresh milk, to pumping water into the stomachs of the victims through the anal outlet. It has dawned on our communities that the main motive of bogus churches is financial gain from unsuspecting members,” Shanyengana remarked.
The council strongly condemns the ungodly activities and behaviour of bogus churches.
Meanwhile, the president of the Association of Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches in Namibia (ACPCN), Reverend Jan Fritz Gaweseb, defended the associate members saying not all Pentecostal churches are bogus.
“There are certain churches operating and preaching not in accordance with the Bible. These churches are not in the majority but in the minority in most cases. If something happens which is not in an orderly manner or Christian belief, then people will pick it up quickly and then make noise about it. But it does not mean that all Pentecostal churches are of the same view because some have noble intentions and are doing godly work,” he said.
Furthermore, he said the association is working together with the Namibian Police in fighting corrupt practices in churches.
“You find pastors who are self-made, they are not ordained and they use the name of the church to make money. Together with the police we will root out these ill and corrupt practices,” he promised.
On a different note, the elders’ council supports the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa’s idea not to allow traditional leaders (chief or kings) to control individuals or groups of persons of their tribes or ethnicity, who are residing in the areas of jurisdiction of other tribal authorities.
This, they say, is to avoid confusion and chaos.
“We are building a nation – one Namibia, one nation and cannot afford to disintegrate what we want to build. Our main focus is to integrate and consolidate our regions in national cohesion. For example, if an Omumbadja or Herero person is living in Ondonga or Ongandjera then automatically she or he falls under the rules and regulations of that traditional authority. That person cannot say, ‘My chief is Ombandja Traditional Authority.’ No, if she or he has permanent residence in Ondonga then her or his traditional authority is Ondonga,” they observed.
Newly inaugurated chief of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, Vekuii Rukoro, wants to expand his area of jurisdiction and be paramount chief of all the Ovaherero people beyond the area of Aminuis, while the current law does not make such provision.