The police are investigating 17 incidents involving complaints against churches, including a woman refusing to use her wheelchair after being prayed for and the police being called in to remove a 21-year-old man from a plane destined for Ghana, where he was to have studied as a pastor.
The young man’s mother claimed she had not given permission for him to leave, although he is above the legal age to travel outside the country.
Among the other complaints laid against an array of different churches is an incident involving a 16-year-old boy that dropped out of Grade 10 to be trained as a pastor, against the wishes of his family.
Another incident involves the father of six-year-old girl, whose mother recently joined a church and changed her name. It is now unclear whether the child is attending school, according to the father.
At the centre of the storm is Khomas Police Regional Community Affairs Officer, Inspector Christina van Dunem Fonsech, who this week met with the complainants and two of the four churches implicated.
There was high drama at Hosea Kutako International Airport on Monday when Harmony Ahalwa, 21, was removed from an Accra-bound plane by the police.
The Light House Chapel International was sending him to Ghana on a four-year scholarship.
His mother Bernadette Amadhila said she never consented.
In a similar case, a relative approached the police after her 16-year-old nephew Desiderius Nekundi dropped out of Grade 10 in February to be trained as a pastor at the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Windhoek.
The relative said Nekundi’s mother allegedly gave consent, but the family is not happy and wants him to complete his schooling first.
In another case, a relative approached the police after her sister refused to use her wheelchair.
The woman was involved in a car accident in the North and her sister brought her to Windhoek to spend time with her.
They started attending a church together.
“She was told at the church that she will walk and must not use the wheelchair. She refuses to use the wheelchair. If she is going somewhere, we carry her into a taxi. We don’t understand each other,” said the sister.
In a related case, a father is looking for his six-year-old daughter.
Daniel Ndivayele said the mother belongs to a local church and has changed her name.
Ndivayele said he visited all private schools in Windhoek to locate his child, but the schools could not find her name on their systems.
He said the mother has left her job as an accountant.
Fonsech said: “Parents are concerned about the children’s safety as they don’t know where their children are going.”
She said in the Ahalwa matter, although the young man is an adult, the church needs his parents’ consent because he is a student.
Harmony’s mother said they had an agreement with the church to provide documents to be signed, allowing their child to go to Ghana.
She told the church to go inform her husband in the North, but they didn’t go to Ongandjera to speak to him.
“That is why I refused. I don’t know the church pastor... Where in Ghana is he going to stay? What if something happens to him in Ghana? I’m not wishing bad luck upon to my child,” said Amadhila.
Pastor Karlos Kaumunika from Light House Chapel International said Harmony’s mother did not have accurate facts at her disposal.
He said the young man had not quit his studies to become a pastor, but had quit the Polytech of Namibia because of financial problems.
The mother denies this.
Kaumunika added they are part of a big denomination.
“We are not on our own. The church has a Bible School where people from all over the world go to study... We recommend people who want to serve God, we don’t force people.”
He added they gave Harmony a year to inform his parents about what he intended to do.
Harmony told Namibian Sun: “I chose this path. It is going to change my life. This is what I want to do. Just because you don’t agree it does not mean it is wrong.”
Pastor Ericky Kasita, from the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, said Nekundi had informed them of his desire to serve God on a full-time basis.
“That’s when we went to his mother. She was the sole custodian. We can’t reject him,” Kasita said, while adding that the mother has been a church member for many years,” Kasita said.
“He does not want to go school. He left school on his own. He has a desire to be trained as a pastor. If you could ask the mother, we counselled the boy with his mother.”
He said it would take between seven to nine years before Nekundi is ordained.
Prominent lawyer and church member Dirk Conradie said the mother of the 16-year-old boy made her child available to be trained as a pastor.
He said about two weeks ago the Gender Ministry called him and raised a similar issue.
He said the church does not send children out of the country to be trained as pastors.
By Selma Ikela Namibian Sun