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300 congregants nabbed

300 CONGREGANTS NABBED
…for defying govt directive on gatherings
“If they knew they would be meeting, they would have gotten a police permit or informed Police so that they are guided!”
Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) Chairperson, John Chipwatanga said the church always stands with the government.
This weekend, Katete District Council Public Relations Officer, Clarence Kaoma says over 300 people from different denominations have been apprehended for defying government’s directive to avoid mass gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19.
Mr Kaoma said the congregants were rounded up at Kalinde Village in Vulamkoko area in Chief Mbang’ombe Chiefdom.
He said the council swung into action after a tip-off from alert community members around the area.
“The more than 300 congregants that gathered at Kalinde Village Community hall, included members from neighboring towns of Sinda and Petauke, including Mozambicans,” he said.
“If they knew they would be meeting, they would have gotten a police permit or informed Police so that they are guided,” he said.
Mr Kaoma said the apprehension of the congregants is meant to enforce the presidential directive of avoiding mass gatherings amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic.
He has urged the public to comply and abide by the presidential directive in order to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus.
Mr Kaoma said the local authority will not tolerate individuals that are breaking the law as they are a danger to society.
He said the council will remain vigilant to ensure that perpetrators face the law.
The congregants have since been warned and cautioned by the police.
Meanwhile, the church has condemned the actions by the congregants to have gathered during a period in which the country is trying to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) Katete District Chairperson, Thomas Phiri said the development has revealed an information gap between churches in urban areas and those in the rural setups regarding the directive on COVID-19.
Rev. Phiri said if the congregants were aware of the current regulations, they would have not gathered in the manner they did.
“So what is important is that us as church mother bodies need to ensure that there is information flow even to churches in rural communities. We should also ensure that we encourage adherence on the directives,” he said.
Rev Phiri said the incident has not only touched the church but an indication that there is insufficient sensitization in rural areas regarding the disease and the preventive measures.
He said it was important that the different stakeholders involved in the fight take up the challenge and sensitize the communities in rural areas.
And Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) Chairperson, John Chipwatanga said the church always stands with the government of the day and what the congregants had done was wrong, they broke the law.
“If they knew they would be meeting, they would have gotten a police permit or informed Police so that they are guided,” he said.
This is contained in statement availed to ZANIS in Katete by Mr Kaoma. – ZANIS

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