Government says it is still consulting stakeholders on how best churches can regulate themselves .
Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Reverend Godfridah Sumaili says her ministry is also planning to hold a church indaba on the matter.
Rev. Sumaili says the indaba would provide a platform where all churches through church mother bodies will come together to chart the way forward on how they could self-regulate through guided legal framework.
“This will even broaden participation from all stake holders and churches, it is not our intention to regulate churches but they should regulate themselves in line with a legal framework that we will up with after wider consultations” Rev. Sumaili said.
ZANIS reports that the Minister was speaking during a meeting with government heads of departments under Lusaka District.
And Rev. Sumaili says churches will henceforth be required to get clearance from her Ministry before they can get a permit from the police for any event involving foreign clergymen or speakers.
She, however, says that all registered local churches would now be expected to obtain police for any function.
“We don’t want to have a repeat of what happened at OYDC where we lost eight lives when a named church wanted to distribute relief to the vulnerable “she said.
And responding to District Commissioner Captain Davison Mulenga’s concern on the mushrooming of churches in the country, the Minister says there is need for individuals intending to set up churches to register to the Registrar of societies as well as affiliate to church mother bodies.
She also disclosed that her Ministry is engaging the Ministry of Local Government to ensure that in its infrastructure planning, it should always reserve land for churches adding that there is no dignity in congregating in schools.
Ministry of Religious Affairs who earlier paid a courtesy call on Lusaka District Commissioner said her ministry will soon be decentralized to district level after the launch of its strategic plan scheduled before the end of this year.