Church leaders asked to work with Police

Isaac Chikosi

Church leaders was asked for betterment and cooperation with the community in a joint meeting between the Church leaders and Nampol this past weekend at Vrede Rede Primary School in Swakopmund. A strong message was delivered by Warrant Officer Ileni Shapumba around the fact that churches are not separate from communities, the reason everyone needs to work together. Inclusive in this meeting were representatives from the Swakopmund municipality and from the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Warrant Officer Ileni Shapumba, Unit Commander for Community Affairs in the Erongo Region addressed the leaders of various denominations and congregations on contemporary issues pertaining crime and disorder. He specifically highlighted those in the Mondesa and DRC settlement areas. Shapumba reiterated the fact that the police and the church should work hand in hand to achieve and maintain peace and stability. Shapumba raised concerns on the on-going complaints from members of the community in the residential areas where some of these noisy churches operate into the late nights and early morning hours. Shapumba said that everyone in the community has rights and that it is important to keep others in consideration. “We need to regulate our activities and make sure they are in compliance with the law.” Shapumba said. He gave his opinion on the existing argument where people compare the noise emanating from churches and the noise created by shebeens. “Churches cannot compare themselves to shebeens. A church is a place of order and morality, therefore not comparable to night life at all.” Furthermore, Shapumba raised his concerns around the sporadic mushrooming of churches because the proper channels are not followed.
After this Shapumba touched a more serious matter. He warned the leaders against concealment of crime in cases reported to them in their capacity of leaders. Sometimes pastors are aware of domestic abuse and violence but choose not to report such issues. “The police are appointed by law to investigate any offence or alleged offence. When people come to you and report such offences, you should report this to the police or advise whoever is reporting the matter to do so.” Shapumba said. Numerous reports of church patrons mugged or robbed on their way back home from services in the wee hours of the morning have also been reported. Shapumba urged the leaders to consider their flock in this regard and avoid bringing the good name of the church into disrepute.
A social worker representing the Ministry of Health and Social Services also aired her concerns stating that many people, especially children reach her office after having first reported their problems to their church leaders. She encour-aged individuals present not to assume that all issues affecting people can be handled completely inside church.
By this saying that all necessary stakeholders are necessary to give the correct support and assistance to those in need. Station Commander of the Mondesa Police Station Inspector H Uugwanga emphasised her concerns over the increase in the trend of informal adoption of children. This rings especially true for teenage girls taken into the homes of church elders of leaders. “Even if you see that the children are in need, it is important to follow the proper channels of adoption with social services.” Uugwanga said.

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