President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has called for the regulation of some religious teachings and practices to protect women and girls from sexual exploitation and abuse by libidinous pastors and prophets.
Chakwera, an ordained Pastor himself, said he is concerned with rising cases of pastors and modern prophets who are sexually exploiting women and girls in the name of God.
The Malawi leader was reacting to reports about a 30-year-old pastor, Juma Njera, who allegedly touched and inserted his fingers into the private parts of two sisters in the name of cleansing them from evil spirits.
Njera was arrested by Nathenje Police Post on Monday and faces two counts of indecent assault.
According to the police, the suspect took the victims to his house on Saturday, August 20, 2022, for deliverance from demons. When they went to his house, Njera gave them ‘holy water to wash their faces for the demons to go out of them.’
Nathenje Police Publicist Hastings Chigalu says, the Pastor, however, claimed that the ‘anointing water’ was failing to effectively work because the girls’ evil spirits entered them through their private parts, so there was need for special deliverance by physically touching the affected parts.
“The suspect then ordered the victims to remove their clothes and started inserting his fingers into the girls’ private parts, one by one claiming that it was the only way the demons would be defeated,” says Chigalu.
He indicates that when he finished, the Pastor escorted the victims home since it was dark. However, after reaching home, the sisters narrated the whole ordeal to their parents who later took them to Nathenje Police Post to report the matter, which led to his arrest.
In reaction to the news, President Chakwera condemned the tendency by some ‘men of God’ of twisting biblical verses in order to achieve their ulterior motives.
Speaking through his religious advisor Reverend Brian Kamwendo, the Malawi leader said his administration will not tolerate exploitation of women and girls in the name of God.
“The President is deeply hurt and disturbed by this news. As you know, President Chakwera is a strong defender of women’s and girls’ rights and, as such, he does not tolerate the abuse of women in the name of God,” said Kamwendo.
The presidential aide added that President Chakwera has suggested that there should be national discourse on how best churches can operate without stepping into the rights of women and girls.