LUSAKA – High Court judge Tamula Kakusa yesterday allowed the banned Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) to resume their church activities.
Judge Kakusa passed the ruling allowing UCKG to apply for judicial review over government’s decision to deregister them for their alleged Satanism practices.
UCKG pastors Carlos Barcelos and Jamir Craveiro have sued the Attorney General George Kunda seeking judicial review into government’s decision to deregister them.
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Judge Kakusa said the application for judicial review would also act as a stay against their deregistration until the full determination of the case.
“This means that this will operate as a stay and the church will continue to conduct their activities as before and without any drama,” he said.
Judge Kakusa said where natural justice was denied, the court had power to decide on such issues. He said the role of the court in the main action was not to determine whether authorities were right or wrong in closing the church or whether the church should remain in Zambia or not.
He said his role was to determine whether at the time of closure of the UCKG, there was fairness. “Let us find out whether the fears, suspicions and unknown feelings are right or not without fanfare but through the fairness to government and the church,” he said. “Let us get more helpful affidavits on what this is all about.”
Judge Kakusa said during the course of hearing the matter, he would personally visit the church to verify the fears and that he would also invite an independent person to ascertain whether there was justification in banning the church.
“You can see that is going beyond what the law requires us to do,” he said. “I thought that in the interest of justice, let’s know the truth and satisfy ourselves on both side without fanfare. We don’t want the churches to operate as cults but at the same time, let’s not punish people based on suspicions. Let’s be open-minded and we need to investigate those fears.”
Judge Kakusa said UCKG wanted the court to quash government’s decision to deregister them or a declaration that the action was unfair, unreasonable and contrary to the rules of natural justice.
Hearing comes up on February 24.