Namibia: Dafonsech Sent North to Tackle 'Fake Churches'

10 February 2022

POLICE inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga, who has confirmed that he will retire from the force in August, has sent police chief inspector Christina van Dunem Dafonsech to the Ohangwena region to meet with the pastors of 'fake' churches.

Ndeitunga this week said he dispatched Dafonsech, who heads the Khomas region's community policing department, to the region over the weekend.

Dafonsech is known for arresting self-proclaimed traditional doctors and prophets in Windhoek's informal settlements.

Ndeitunga said she would assist members of the community to deal with the said churches.

Some families are divided due to "these fake churches" which are "demon possessed", he said.

He said the problems caused by the churches are not restricted to members of the public only, but extend to police officers.

Ndeitunga said he has received reports of officers attending fake churches, and then accusing their colleagues of being witches.

According to the inspector general, some police officers bring small bottles of 'anointing water' to work and spray it everywhere.

"These things should never happen on government property," he said.

He said the involved churches are spreading hate and division.

"They bring suspicion to whoever is next to you, and this lowers the productivity of police officers. They spend their salaries on those fake churches," he said.

Ndeitunga said there is a lack of proper legislation to regulate and sanction churches.

Addressing police officers at Eenhana this past weekend, Ndeitunga accused them at the town of failing to perform their duties.

"Dockets are missing, there are no inspections, vehicles are dirty and driven all over, and there is no control. Why? Because commanders have become bishops and pastors," Ndeitunga said.

He encouraged the police's intelligence unit to identify police officers who attend certain churches, and threatened to dismiss them.

REGULATION

Ludwig Beukes, the general secretary of the Council of Churches in Namibia, says: "In terms of fake churches and fake prophets, the reality is true, because we always have complaints about them. The Bible says you will know a tree by its fruits. Now the fake churches and fake prophets . . . you will know them by their fruits."

He referred to self-proclaimed prophet Sebarius Muronga (25) who stands accused of impregnating and assaulting two of his church members.

The Mbunza Traditional Court in the Kavango East region has ordered the closure of Muronga's Grace Church.

He says the phenomenon of fake churches is calling on the country to come up with a framework for religious institutions to be regulated.

"This is actually becoming a concern. Although we have a Constitution which talks of freedom of religion and worship, I think we need to come up with guidelines or frameworks so that we could have moral control.

"A lot of these fake churches are people who are only accountable to themselves, and some of them only want to make money," he says.

He, however, admits that some churches are doing great work in communities.

Beukes urges individuals who are planning to join new churches to do their homework before joining any church.

Alpo Enkono, the general secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin), says Elcin cannot criticise its fellow churches, because all are permitted by the Constitution to operate.

"I think Ndeitunga should go to the president and ask him to amend the Constitution to allow churches perceived to be breaking the law to be dealt with. At the moment we don't have the authority to castigate our colleagues," he says.

Dafonsech was not available for comment at the time of going to print.

NDEITUNGA RETIRES

Meanwhile, after nearly 18 years at the helm of the Namibian Police, Ndeitunga on Tuesday at the opening of parliament said he would be retiring in August.

He was addressing a group of journalists outside the National Assembly.

"I have packed my bags and taken my suitcases to the north. I will miss a lot, because I receive calls on a daily basis from members of the public. If I don't receive a call from members of the public asking for advice or complaining, I feel bad.

"I even ask myself if my phone is on," he said in a video posted on the Eagle FM Facebook page.

Ndeitunga, who joined the police in 1990, rose up the ranks and was appointed by former president Hifikepunye Pohamba as inspector general of the Namibian Police in 2005.

At the time of his appointment, he was 43 years old.

He replaced the late Lucas Hangula, who at the time was appointed as director general of the Namibia Intelligence Service.

Ndeitunga is the longest-serving inspector general of the Namibian Police.

He has been credited with trying to transform the police service, but is known for controversial comments, such as saying in 2013 women found wearing short and revealing clothes would be arrested.

Ndeitunga yesterday preferred not to comment further on his retirement as he said he was not feeling well.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.