Church divides village

YA KUFWA PO … Ongeleka oya teyaulwa po kovanambelewa velelo laUkwambi eshi va ti ya eta omaupyakadi pokati kovakwashiwana momukunda. Efano: La yandjwa

Members of the Oshuudhi village community and the village headman are in conflict over a charismatic church they claim is causing disturbance.

Earlier this month, the police and officials from the Oukwambi Traditional Authority (OTA), alongside community members converged to forcefully remove the church tent from the open field at the village where it had been since its inception in 2021.

Omusati police commissioner Ismael Basson confirmed the incident on Sunday.

“The police were there to just maintain order and peace, everything else was done by the traditional authority,” Basson said.

Speaking to The Namibian, OTA spokesperson Kalimba Othitukuti said the traditional authority got involved because the church was in its jurisdiction and community members reported that it was causing disturbances.

“We were approached by community members regarding the alleged chaos the church was causing. Children were not longer interested in school or their studies. They preferred to just be at the church until the late hours of the night and the noise from there was disturbing people. We went and removed it from the place where it was,” he said.

Community member Kaimbi Kashitweni complained that the church was too noisy.

“We asked the authorities to remove them, but now we see they have not done it. Why can’t they set up their premises in Oshana?”

The church is called Omwene Tumange.

The removal of the church led to the OTA stripping headman Elia Lazarus of his position after he opted to accommodate the evicted church in his field.

Lazarus told The Namibian he does not see why people should have a problem with a church that is accommodated on his property.

“This is my property, what problem do those people really have? This is my property and I can accommodate anyone here.

There are churches everywhere around this country, but now they just want to make noise about a church that is on my own property. What about the noise at cuca shops and shebeens, where most of them spend time?”

The owner of the church, known as ‘Apostle One Way’, said he will take the matter to court because the OTA allegedly destroyed his property.

“This is a spiritual matter and we will continue with our prayers. They came here, dismantled our structures and took our properties, including destroying our food and I just stood and watched. Who gave the OTA the right to just come and destroy? If they knew that I was here illegally, they should have gone to the court. The church is always filled with community members and now they want to use them against the church,” said the apostle.

He also denied that three siblings who allegedly burnt down their mother’s homestead in December after accusing her of being a witch had attended the church.

“I have never seen them and they never attended my church. People are just having problems with this particular church because of their businesses. People are attending church instead of spending time at their shebeens,” he claimed.

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