LUSAKA – An evangelical church that was banned in Zambia last week for allegedly practising satanism, including human sacrifice, has decided to challenge that decision in court, an official has said.
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), a sect originating in Brazil, is asking the the country’s high court to quash the government’s ban on the grounds that it was imposed unfairly, a court clerk said.
“The church has filed papers for judicial review over the decision of government to ban its operation claiming that the rule of natural justice was not followed,” the clerk said.
He said the matter will come up for a hearing in court tomorrow.
Last week, the Zambian government de-registered the UCKG following reports that it was involved in human sacrifice, which led to thousands of people going on a rampage in Lusaka, smashing windows of the church’s premises and stoning vehicles after they were told that two people had been kidnapped and were about to be sacrificed.
The Zambian government also ordered the two Brazilian pastors, who headed the church in Zambia, to leave the country within seven days but those expulsions are also being contested in court.
The controversial church was previously banned in Zambia in 1997 but resumed operations after obtaining a court order.
In February Madagascar banned the sect and ordered it to cease operations in the vast Indian Ocean island, four months after four of its members were jailed for burning a Bible and other religious objects.
The UCKG was founded in 1977 in Brazil by Emir Macedo, a former lottery employee, and claims to have six million members worldwide.