Thyolo — Police in Thyolo have taken to court a pastor of a ministry called Thamanda to answer charges of conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
Acting Public Relations Officer for Thyolo Police Sergeant, Tiwone Amosi, told Malawi News Agency (MANA) that Pastor Sampulo Newiri, 40, has been misleading his followers by encouraging them not to send their children to school and hospital for medical attention when they fall sick.
Sergeant Amosi further told Mana that last year, the same pastor ill-advised his followers not to waste their precious time cultivating in their fields, saying he received a prophesy from God that there would be no rains.
"Pastor Newiri's prophesy left many people food insecure. The whole of Chipendo area where his church is based along Thyolo- Goliati road, didn't cultivate including the pastor himself.
"The pastor relies on food handouts from his followers," said Sergeant Amosi.
He said members of the community lodged a complaint to police about the ministry's doctrines which they argued were antithesis to development.
Appearing before Thyolo Magistrate Court Wednesday, the pastor pleaded not guilty to the charge, prompting the state to ask for time to parade three witnesses.
The pastor came to the court with a handful of his congregants, all of them clad in white attire.
In an interview, one of the members of the ministry who pleaded for anonymity said the pastor's arrest was the work of Satan who was jealous and wanted people to perish by not hearing the truth about God's words.
He said the ministry was founded upon observing many weaknesses and untruthfulness in the so called big churches.
"There's corruption, adultery and favouritism in the popular churches you know in Malawi. So, our ministry, driven by the power of the Holy Spirit, has come to correct this for people to receive salvation," he said.
Pastor Newiri comes from Chipendo Village in the area of Traditional Authority Chimaliro in Thyolo. The case was adjourned to January 22, 2018.