A PASTOR at Zion Spirit Church in Chadiza district who admitted having buried his follower alive after being requested to do so by the deceased member has been jailed for one year.

Ryan Phiri, 48, and Vincent Mwale, 25, last year buried James Sakala alive outside the church grounds as the choir and other congregants sang songs of resurrection.

The duo appeared before Chipata resident High Court judge Mercy Makubalo where they faced a manslaughter charge, which they readily admitted to.

“At about 11:00 hours, they were joined by two people, among them the now deceased James Sakala, of Chief Maguya in Chipata, who was believed to be a spiritual healer, and his friend Vincent Mwale, the second accused person (now the convict).”

Sakala, who appeared to have been under the influence of some ‘spirit’, is said to have gone out to get a hoe from the pastor’s house, which was about 50 metres from the church, and dug a ditch outside the church.

Afterwards, he lay in it and demanded that his fellow congregants bury him as he would rise again. Pastor Phiri obliged and buried him in the grave-like ditch as other congregants sang songs of resurrection.


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