Tuesday 18 May 2021
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Leading the flock astray

…Pastor claims illegitimate kids are spiritual

The pastor who impregnated five women whom he was supposed to lead religiously claims the kids he fathered through the process are ‘spiritual kids’, the Namibian Police said. Paulus Vilho, who calls himself Jesus, is said to have made the startling revelation during a meeting with the police recently. “He told his congregation that the kids are not human they are spiritual kids from heaven. Some of the mothers actually believe that they conceived spiritual kids,” said Inspector Christina Fonsech, head of the Khomas Regional police community affairs in Windhoek. This comes after the police temporarily shut down the Jesus Ministry church when reports of him misleading the community, noise pollution and defamation for allegedly pitting mostly family members or close friends against each other surfaced. “The police closed down the church because it was misleading the community.” Efforts to reach Paulus on his mobile proved futile because it was switched off. Despite Paulus confirming that he indeed impregnated some of his followers, church members continue to fully support their shepherd.Contacted for comment, Pineas Amutenya an Apostle and leader of Jesus Centres’ northern congregations expressed disappointment towards the police. “They were supposed to have a meeting with us first because we are also leaders of the church. We were not informed or contacted by the police, we just heard about the closure through the media,” said Amutenya.
According to Amutenya, the police should have convened a meeting with the church leadership to handle the matter.
The Namibian Police has since shut the doors ‘House of God’ church on the outskirts of Windhoek after the clergyman’s sexual acts were exposed.
A decision whether to permanently keep the church out of operation still has to be reached when various stakeholders including the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) meet to discuss the matter.
Paulus, who is not new to controversy, made headlines in the local media six years ago when several women of his congregation accused him of having sex with them at the Parliament Gardens. The pastor allegedly lured the women to the Parliament Gardens that he refers to as the ‘House of God’ before conducting private sermons which includes sex.
“If you are saying that you are Jesus and in that way you are also using the bible verse for you to sleep with members of your congregation it is misleading to the community.” Fonsech said. “You cannot sleep with people telling them that the Holy Spirit said so. Since people belief in the bible, they will most probably agree to have sex with the pastor.”
The police have since come under scrutiny for allegedly acting unlawfully and inflicting on the religious rights of Paulus’ followers when it closed the church. Local human rights lawyer to Norman Tjombe opposed the decision to shut down the church. “How many other church pastors impregnate members of their congregation, are their churches closed down?” questioned Tjombe.
“Considering the constitutional rights of freedom of religion, culture and beliefs and that Namibia is a secular state, the only offense that the pastor would have committed here is blasphemy. Adultery is not a criminal offense. Even if there was a charge against this pastor they must deal with the charge and not close the church.” Tjombe said. Article 13 of the Namibian constitution states that; searches of the person or the homes of individuals shall only be justified where these are authorized by a competent judicial officer.
He said closing the church was not done in a fair manner.
Attorney General Sakeus Shanghala said the action of the police was necessary to protect the congregants.
“If people are defrauding people and people are getting money from people under false pretenses the law should be applied. Namibia is a country governed by the rule of law and the law applies, and acts such as these will not be allowed. When people break the law and act under false pretenses to do things they would otherwise not do, they will be dealt with. The police did not do anything wrong. Shanghala said,” he said.
One of the fundamental freedoms under article 21 of the Namibian constitution states that all persons shall have the right to freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice.
However, said Shanghala: “The public should understand that as much as people have the right to practice any religion, forcing people to come to your church because you claim to be Jesus will not be tolerated; the state has to protect its people and the police has to maintain order so that the rule of the law can prevail.”
When the public is misled it can even result in a war between the communities and create division, said a concerned Fonsech. Fonsech said there has been reports of community members fighting amongst each other after they were told by pastors that they were bewitched their fellow community members. “This is according to the reports we receive from the public. Some of the victims thought they were in a relationship with the pastor but later found out that it was not the case,” she said.
“We cannot allow these things to continue, these traditional things should be left to traditional healers, not pastors. These groups in the community now fight with one another and there is no peace in the community. For us as the police is just to maintain law and order. Laws have been implemented and for us are to make sure that the public and everybody adheres to these laws,” she said.
“Our people, especially the youth, should stand firm and know what they want because there is no shortcut to having good things in life,” Fonsech advised when she called on line ministries such us Justice and Home Affairs to join the fight against church leaders exploiting their followers.
Fonsech said Paulus admitted to sleeping with some of his church members, a process that led to him fathering five children. “He said he will give himself a two month break from these practices,” Fonsech said. Paulus’ church has branches in other towns such as Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo and Gobabis.

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