The Ministry of Home Affairs through the Immigration Department says that no church or faith based organization will be registered or allowed to operate without a letter of support from the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.

This came to light at the opening of a two-day meeting for church mother bodies and religious leaders today.

According to the drafted copy of guidelines of church and faith based organizations on obtaining permits for holding conferences, crusades, and other religious events, churches were advised to posses certificates among other documents.

“Any organization seeking to hold religious events must posses the following; Ministry/Church profile, Church Registration certificate, Proof of affiliation to the church mother body, and profile of the speaker,” read the draft copy in part.

The draft copy further indicated that a letter of consent or support would be issued by the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs for the police to issue the permit, once such submissions were made.

Religious Affairs Minister Godffridah Sumaili said her Ministry would not influence the discussion process but would rather facilitate the discussions and allow the churches to discuss openly and independently.

“In this process, the Ministry will play a facilitatory role while the church and religious umbrella bodies shall take the leading role. As such, this is clearly your meeting and this is why we have requested for an independent moderator. Our role today is to learn from you and offer secretariat services. I would like to urge all of you to be open and fully participate in the deliberations which will greatly contribute to finalization of self regulatory framework,” Sumaili said.

She said this in a speech read on her behalf by Director of Planning and Research for the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Guidance, Peggy Mulewa.

The Church mother bodies that attended the deliberations were; the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), the Islamic Supreme Council of Zambia, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Zambia, the Apostles Council of Churches, Independent churches of Zambia, and the Assemblies of Zambia.

Other key stakeholders were the Immigration Department, the Registrar of Societies, and the Patents And Companies Registration Agency (PACRA).