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The Body of Christ Party fights against church demolitions – News

The newly registered Body of Christ Party (BCP) is threatening to stage a mass protest over the alleged demolition by Oshana police of revival churches and properties belonging to its members.

They also accuse the police of not being willing to talk to them about the matter.

However, Oshana Regional Police Commander Naftal Sakaria denies the allegations and says he only received a letter from the party.

He has also expressed his willingness to collaborate with the BCP.

“The president of the party and I always talk. The accusations that I never responded to his letter are not true. I only received one letter from them on Monday, which we will respond to. We want to get involved and talk to them about these issues,” says Sakaria.

Speaking to The Namibian on Monday, party leader Festus Thomas said his members (Pentecostal churches) are being treated unfairly by the police.

“The police are always causing conflict for our members,” he said, referring to a tent that was allegedly confiscated from a BCP member and is currently in the hands of Ondangwa police without a warrant.

“They are demolishing our members’ churches with no evidence that they are causing the chaos,” Thomas said.

He stated that the police must do their work in accordance with the Constitution and the Police Law.

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

Thomas also accused the police of failing to respond to letters from the BCP requesting a meeting to discuss issues affecting its members.

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

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

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

The BCP has demanded that Sakaria respond to its letter on or before May 10.

“If we do not receive a response by the indicated date, we will conclude that your esteemed office cannot help within the established framework and we will explore other effective methods to access legal protection.”

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

“What we oppose is the chaos, anarchy and disorder caused by these churches in communities,” he said.

He also said that community members complain about noise pollution and that pastors tell their parishioners that certain people are bewitched or possessed by demons. This causes parishioners 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,” Sakaria said.

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

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

“If the community you operate in doesn’t welcome you, then we have to protect those people. Recently, we have a pastor who shot someone in church. Should we just sit and watch?

LET’S STAY

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

“We are in the process of identifying them and inviting them all to speak, but anyone who comes individually is always welcome,” he said.

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