Body of Christ Party fights demolitions of churches

REVIVAL CHURCHES … The BCP says that the police should stop demolishing revival churches, particu-larly in Oshana region.

The newly registered Body of Christ Party (BCP) is threatening to hold a mass protest over the Oshana police’s alleged demolition of revival churches and property belonging to their members.

They also accuse the police of not being willing to engage with them on the matter.

However, Oshana police regional commander commissioner Naftal Sakaria denies the allegations and says he only received one letter from the party.

He has also expressed his readiness to engage with the BCP.

“The party president and I always talk. The allegations that I never responded to their letter are not true. I only received one letter from them on Monday, which we will respond to. We want to engage and speak to them on these issues,” Sakaria says.

Speaking to The Namibian on Monday, party leader Festus Thomas said their members [Pentecostal churches] receive unfair treatment from the police.

“The police are always causing conflict to our members,” he said, referring to a tent that was reportedly confiscated from a BCP member that is currently being kept by the Ondangwa police without a court order.

“They are demolishing our members’ churches with no proof that there is chaos being caused by them,” Thomas said.

He asserted that the police must do their jobs according to the Constitution and the Police Act.

“Why just come and destroy someone’s property without a court order? Our members are discriminated against [under] the watch of the police. We are tired of these things. Traditional authorities also threaten them, but they are the ones who gave land to the churches,” he added.

Thomas also accused the police of not responding to the BCP’s letters requesting a meeting to discuss the issues affecting their members.

“I went there on Monday, but apparently the regional commander is in a meeting and we have to submit it at the reception,” he said.

In his letter to Sakaria, Thomas said they want to establish a good relationship with the police.

“In terms of the public policing, we would like to build the standard of good governance between our police force and the churches, which will end the harsh treatment against some churches and their leaders when intervening to provide a possible solution to this problem,” Thomas wrote.

The BCP has demanded that Sakaria responds to their letter on or before 10 May.

“If we do not receive a response before the date provided, we will then conclude that your esteemed office is unable to assist within the established framework and we will explore other effective methods of accessing legal protection.”

Sakaria denied that the police deliberately demolished and confiscated property belonging to Pentecostal churches.

“What we are against is chaos, lawlessness and disorder caused by these churches in the communities,” he said.

He further said community members are complaining of noise pollution and pastors telling their congregants that certain people are bewitched or possessed by demons. This causes the congregants to confront these people and destroy their property, he added.

“This is what we are preventing. We are there to maintain law and order, not to take sides,” said Sakaria.

He maintained that if churches follow the procedures of establishing a church by acquiring permission from the traditional authorities to operate and do not cause havoc and anarchy in the community, they will be allowed to operate freely.

“There are a lot of Pentecostal churches operating in Namibia and they don’t cause havoc. The police do not just decide to go and demolish a church, but it is people who come and report these churches, to the police.

“If the community in which you are operating do not welcome you, then we have to protect those people. Recently, we have a pastor who shot someone in church. Should we just sit back and watch?”


Sakaria said he would like to meet with all Pentecostal churches in the region to discuss issues relating to them.

“We are in the process of identifying and inviting them all so that we talk, but whoever comes individually are always welcome,” he said.

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