Some churches rich, should pay rates and taxes: Geingob

24 Oct 2015 10:20am
EENHANA, 24 OCT (NAMPA) – President Hage Geingob says not every church is poor and unable to pay rates and taxes to local authorities or town councils.
Geingob said this in his response to a suggestion made during his town hall meeting at Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region on Thursday, when a church representative asked that churches be exempted from paying rates and taxes to municipalities.
Reverend Lazarus Ngube of the Anglican Church argued that the church is a community faculty and should not be required to pay for the municipal services on a commercial basis.
Geingob however said some churches generate up to N.dollars 15 000 from collections during their Sunday services.
He said it is possible for churches which have such high collections to pay rates and taxes to a local authority.
Ngube also proposed the establishment of a legal body to regulate religious organisations, especially those accused of breaking up families.
An as yet unidentified church in Swakopmund in the Erongo Region, which allegedly advised one of its members to kill a cousin and drink their blood to become rich, was referred to as a classic example of the churches that are causing havoc among families in the country.
However, Geingob reminded the clergymen about Namibia being a secular state whereby no church is recognised above the other.
The Head of State expressed concern over the mushrooming of new churches, traditional authorities and political parties in the country and at the same time appealed to all citizens to embrace national unity through the “One Namibia, One Nation” spirit.
Geingob was on Thursday in the Ohangwena Region for the first time since his election as the country’s third President.
He used the town hall meeting to thank the community of Ohangwena Region for contributing to his 87 per cent victory and some 80 per cent for the governing Swapo-Party during the last Presidential and National Assembly Election.
Geingob has already visited most of the 14 regions, with only Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa and Kunene still to be visited.