A 42-year-old man in Katete has dragged his 40-year-old sister Cecilia Phiri to court for withdrawing her children from school and enrolling them in an imaginary school of Jesus Christ, where Jesus is their teacher.
Applying for foster care of the children, her brother Juvancio Phiri told the court that the family only got to know of the predicament when her eldest child informed them that the mother did not want to take him and his three siblings to school.
“We learned about the situation at my sister’s house where all the children were not going to school through her firstborn who is now in school.
“ She only allowed the firstborn who had insisted on going to school, where she said we should find a school for him and that she was not going to be responsible for his schooling,” he said.
Facts are that Cecilia Phiri , a nurse by profession, withdrew her three children from school in February, 2022 on the grounds that she was preparing them for heaven.
Appearing before Katete Magistrate Mary Musongole, the accused said her decision was based on her religious convictions, sermons, and prophesies that she had assumedly heard from church that indicated that time ( for the end of the world ) had gone.
“I am a member of Charismatic under the Roman Catholic. Because of my faith and religion, I started going with my children to church. I heard prophecies from God prophesied by Agatha Banda saying God has been saying time and again that time is gone and also the messages I heard being preached,” she told the court.
She further submitted that with those charismatic messages she became convinced that time has gone based on the Bible book of Revelation Chapter 13 verses 15 to 18 which talks about the mark of the beast and the method of how it will come and in relation to Noah’s times.
Ms. Phiri said, after believing these sermons and prophecies, she decided to stop her children from going to school as she saw it as an effective way of preparing them to go to heaven.
“I took the responsibility over my children as the mother to show them the way to heaven and part of showing them to go to heaven is by stopping them to go to school,” she said. “I saw that it is the only way to prepare my children to go to heaven, ” she told a packed court.
After hearing the submission, Katete Magistrate Mary Musongole gave Ms. Phiri 14 days to think over the matter before section 175 of the laws of Zambia could be invoked on her.
Section 175 of the laws of Zambia states that parents have a duty to take care of their own children, give them support, and take them to school. Failure to meet these basic needs attracts a fine of 350 penalty units or a sentence of three years or both.
“I have seen that maybe you have a disease in your mind, so for a reasonable person, I am going to give you the time of 14 days so that you think through thereafter you shall come for a report,” the Magistrate informed the mother.
Magistrate Musongole also instructed the mother to take enroll her children back into school forthwith.
“If you are going to fail to do what I have guided in 14 days that is to pay school fees for these children, find a school place for them, buy uniforms, and let them go back to school, if you are going to fail to do that then I am going to invoke the law against you,” she ruled.