LINDA SOKO-TEMBO writes
A LUSAKA pastor who allegedly charged his flock for prayers and practices traditional healing has been expelled from his church amidst allegations of witchcraft.
The pastor has denied all allegations from his former wife and church elders.
In a rather bizarre circumstance, a pastor at Word of Hope Christian Church in Lusaka has been expelled by other pastors for alleged fake healing sessions.
Elders at the church, Pastor Romans Samoyu and Pastor Rodrick Tembo, told the Sun that Pastor Emmanuel Banda has been axed for behaving more like a traditional healer than a man of God.
The pastors said that the decision by Pastor Emmanuel to charge people for prayers also put him in conflict with the doctrine of the church.
The duo revealed that the estranged pastor, who now runs Revelations Ministries in Kabanana Compound, would charge people for healing prayers and grab electronic items from those that failed to pay.
Pastor Emmanuel’s ex-wife Sarah Mbewe also confirmed the story.
A Sun Newspaper team that visited Pastor Emmanuel’s new church found him alone as he tries to build up a following in his new church.
However, Pastor Emmanuel has denied the allegations claiming that his former wife was just guilty because she had wronged him as a man and that is why he divorced her.
He said, his ministry was pure and he had no fake healing session and neither did he indulge in witchcraft or confiscate other people’s properties.
He said he was a true man of God and even the mayor knew him.
He claimed his ex wife was making fake allegations just because he had ditched her.
He claimed the wife had been unfaithful and that was why he had divorced her.
The pastor also said it was stupid it claim that he was a Malawian.
He claimed to be the mayor’s driver but failed to provide proof.
The following are the verbatim reports of the interviews with Pastor Romans, Pastor Rodrick and Sarah.
Pastor Romans Samoyu, Word of Hope Christian Church
I am Pastor Romans Samoyu of Word of Hope Christian Church situated at Kabanana Compound in Lusaka.
I was an elder in the church before I started pastoring and most of us initially thought Pastor Emmanuel was a real man of God doing wonderful things when he joined the ministry.
But as days went by, we discovered that what he was doing was infact not genuine.
He would go to church members’ homes on the pretext that he was going to remove traditional medicines but instead told people “your aunt or your uncle is the one bewitching you”.
So when I discovered this I thought that the only person who does this is a traditional healer or witch doctor.
Sometimes he would come in church and say that I see a baby having charms on his or her throat and that we are going to pray so that the charms come out.
He would also tell us to close our eyes and that if we did not we would turn into chameleons and it will be difficult for us to turn back into human beings. That would scare all the people into closing their eyes.
I discovered it was magic he was using because when he said let’s pray, the charms would come out of the person’s clothes instead of the throat.
And at his home the man was mistreating his wife. I tried to counsel him as an elder in the church but he was not changing. The wife decided to leave him later and the senior church leaders decided to ask Pastor Emmanuel to step down after the report reached them.
He charges people K200 or more for prayers and collects electronic items, such as fridges, television sets and cell phones as surety from those who are unable to immediately pay him. The people he prays for do not usually recover and have been complaining. We have tried to tell him to stop it but he does not listen.
Some members decided to go with him but others still remained in this church and Word of Hope Christian Church still continues.
There was also an incident when Pastor Emmanuel’s wife had once left the matrimonial house but found him with another woman when she returned. A fight ensued and the other woman attempted to hit the wife with an iron bar while the pastor called her a prostitute. A lot of people from the neighbourhood watched the embarrassing incident. We advised the wife to leave the house and she obliged.
I am appealing to people of Zambia, and Lusaka in particular, to be aware of false prophets tarnishing the image of God and are just out to make money.
Pastor Rodrick Tembo, Word of Hope Christian Church
I am Pastor Rodrick Tembo, a senior pastor at Word of Hope Christian Church. Our church was registered in 2016 and Pastor Emmanuel joined us in 2018 during the time there was a cholera outbreak. He approached us saying that he had a group of people and asked if our church could adopt them and allow them to open a branch in Kabanana.
I spoke to the church leadership at the main branch in Mtendere Compound, and we agreed to meet Pastor Emmanuel to discuss the matter. During the meeting, we told him our church follows a particular doctrine and that it is a bible believing church.
Pastor Emmanuel agreed to that and we told him conditions about how we wanted things to be done in the church, such as if he steals church money he should be dropped, and that if the pastor does something evil inside or outside the church, he should be dropped and dealt with immediately.
I even went further to read Matthew 10 vs. 8 to him, which reads “I have given you freely so you should also give freely” meaning that casting out of demons is free, and praying for someone for healing is also free. I warned him that I did not want to hear he was charging people because salvation is free and that our law as a church was to give hope and introduce people to Jesus Christ. Pastor Emmanuel accepted and agreed to all these conditions and he even signed a document to that effect.
The church was growing but we began receiving a lot of reports about taking women to the mountain to pray and misusing tithe.
His wife also confessed to us that Pastor Emmanuel charged people as a source of livelihood.
We decided to take action in September after we gathered enough information. The headquarters of the church and myself asked the disciplinary committee to visit Pastor Emmanuel and suspend him.
We gave him a letter of suspension pending investigations on 10th November, 2018 in the presence of the entire church leadership. Pastor Emmanuel reacted very badly after receiving the letter and informed us he was infact waiting for the letter and that he was no longer a part of Word of Hope Christian Church.
Since that day, Nov. 10 2018, Pastor Emmanuel is no longer part of Word of Hope Christian Church. He is not our member or pastor. I even have the letter that we wrote to tell him that he has been expelled.
Sarah Mbewe, Pastor Emmanuel Banda’s ex-wife
My Names are Sarah Mbewe and I live in Kabanana Site Service.
I met Emmanuel Banda, whose real names are Moffat Banda but calls himself Emmanuel Banda, in 2014. He was still married when we met so it was just courtship. We stayed like that for almost a year and half and his relationship with his first wife only ended when he rented a house for me and we moved in together.
We started a church called Starting Faith Prophetic Ministries in Obama Township in Chelstone in 2016 but later moved to Kabanana where we still continued running the same church.
The ministry was going well until his first wife discovered us and started coming accusing Pastor Emmanuel of stealing her household items like curtains and pots.
He again decided that we leave Kabanana and shift to Kwafumbelo Compound after the harassment from the first wife became too much.
We then joined the Word of Hope Christian Church and started running a branch of the ministry from there. We started from our house with four people but later shifted the church to a school after our membership grew. That’s when his true colours started showing.
My life changed after I discovered that he was going out with some praise team leaders in the church, taking single female church members on prayer missions out of town trips.
There was a certain lady he impregnated whom he was meeting in a car that was being parked at the elder’s house.
The woman was on separation from her husband. When she told him she was expecting his child, Pastor Emmanuel advised her to reconcile with her husband and she agreed. She did exactly as she was told, she had sex with her husband and later told him he was the one responsible for the pregnancy.
The lady even testified in Church that she had reconciled with her husband and that all was well in their home.
I lived and closely followed Pastor Emmanuel’s life for 4 years. I was his 5th wife. One died but the four of us are still alive. The woman he plans to marry will be his sixth.
Pastor Emmanuel tells people that he is a prophet but in my view he is a fake one because I got to see all the things he was doing.
He used to go to pray in people’s homes claiming that he had seen something in their house when in the actual sense it was the charm that he made himself and just threw it there as a means of extorting money from them.
That was the kind of life we lived and it was also the source of the money we spent on food and rentals.
He normally charges K50 or more for prayers and about K1, 000 for distant places.
Pastor Emmanuel had a habit of making small dolls from our house and secretly taking them to other people’s homes. He would later “prophesy” to the family there is a charm in their house which is making them sick and charge them for removing it.
He would only give a prophecy in church after he first hears your problem. He would first interview someone and after that invite them to church to give the same prophecy to deceive people that he was prophesying. He also used charms in the house while I watched him.
Once during our courtship, I noticed his shoulder was swollen and when l asked him about it he told me his Malawian witchdoctor had placed a charm in his shoulder so that he could not lack financially and that whenever he starts a church, it should grow.
And for sure if he starts a church, it grows within a short period despite his messages not being that powerful. Most of his followers are women.
My advice is that people should first check the backgrounds of the so-called men of God before they decide to associate with them because some of them are fake.
Pastor Emmanuel Band …
Those people saying those things are laying. It is wrong to accuse a man of God.
I do not have or use charms.
That woman making claims is because I divorced her.
Tell them that I don’t do such things and I will take them to court for spreading lies.
You can even ask the Mayor (Lusaka) because he knows me, I drive his children to school.
Those people are stupid and are my enemies, that is why they are spreading lies.
Thank you for alerting me about these lies.