3 January 2013

Zambia: UCZ in Soup Over Collapsed Building

THE United Church of Zambia (UCZ) leadership in Lusaka faces the wrath of the law for allowing congregants to converge in an incomplete building which collapsed, leading to the death of one member and injuring 41.

Lusaka City Council (LCC) public relations officer Henry Kapata said the UCZ leadership did not possess a partial occupation certificate to host a gathering of a large magnitude in an incomplete building.

Mr Kapata said UCZ top leaders had been summoned over the catastrophic incident during a prayer service on New Year's Day.

The Church service turned tragic after metal bars from the unfinished building collapsed and fell on the unsuspecting Church members.

The incident happened around 10:00 hours on New Year's Day during a thanksgiving service at the UCZ All Saints Congregation in Chainda Township.

"The UCZ leaders have been summoned and we will take them to court for not having the certificate. It is against the law to occupy such a building without authority from the council.

"It's not about the death that happened which we are sorry about but it is about them ignoring this part of the law," Mr Kapata said.

He said before the unfinished building was occupied, especially for public gatherings, the owners should have informed the council to carry out inspections.

"Even in the state that the church building is, we would not have issued them the certificate because the building is far from being completed and it was dangerous for any form of gathering especially of such a magnitude," he said.

A congregant, Ashley Muchinga died at the age of 22, while another victim, Erika Kapindula was admitted to the intensive care unit at Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital in Lusaka.

The 41 casualties were rushed for treatment at the hospital while the late Mr Muchinga's body was recorded as brought-in-dead.

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