VIDEO: Not even the weather could dampen the drama at Pastor Tim Omotoso bail hearing

BY AFIKILE LUGUNYA - MAY 4, 2017
VIDEO: Not even the weather could dampen the drama at Pastor Tim Omotoso bail hearing

Despite the wet and chilly weather, many residents showed up at the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court were controversial Nigerian televangelist and senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Tim Omotoso, made a bid for bail. He had been languishing in police custody since his arrest on the 20th of April.

He faces a charge of human trafficking after several young girls from his church claimed that he had sexually exploited them.

A huge crowd from the Port Elizabeth branch of the Jesus Dominion International arrived to show solidarity with Omotoso, however protesters had also come to the court to demand that he gets no bail - sparking a verbal war between the two groups.

Wanting to catch a glimpse of the proceedings first-hand, many people made their way into the court, but many had to be turned away due to the courtroom running out of space.

They refused to listen and tried force their way into the court.

Public order police had to threaten them with tear gas before they stopped trying to force their way through the doors. They still refused to leave the premises.

Meanwhile there was more drama outside the court, Jesus Dominion International gathered in numbers, chanting and claimed that Omotoso was innocent, which did not go down well with a group led by the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL). 

While an exchange of insults ensued, a man called, Stanley Tokota, who concidentally looks like Pastor Omotoso, came through the crowd, causing more commotion as Jesus Dominion International congregants thought it was Pastor Omotoso, who had been released from police custody.

Those against bail for the bail made good work of the confusion highlighting that the Pastor's followers are "crazy".

When RNEWS asked Stanley Tokota the reason for the excitement he said, “The people were happy because I look like Pastor Omotoso and I am in his ministry, so they know me and they know my story.”

Like many faithfuls at the Jesus Dominion International, Tokota said before he came to join the ministry, his life was a mess.

“I came to support this wonderful man of God because he helped me to be where I am today, before I met him, I was involved in arm robbery and every kind of life you can think of,” he described.

“He made me, who you see today, when I was at a difficult stage and changed my life.”

Tokota says that he will continue to support Pastor Omotoso until the end.

A protester, Ntsika Mtukwini told RNEWS that he was angry that so many people would come out to support the Pastor.

“I am very disappointed to see that people came in numbers to support this pastor,” Mtukwini said.

He said that that all Nigerian pastors in Port Elizabeth must just form one church instead of having many churches to their benefit while using the name of God.

“There are many Nigerian churches here, it’s obvious that each one of them is working for their personal benefit, if not then why don’t they have one church and worship together,” Mtukwini said.

He appealed to anyone, who may have been abused by Pastor Tim Omotoso to come out and lay charges so that he is sent to jail.

The proceedings where adjourned in the morning to allow for the court to hear an application by the SABC that it streams the hearing live. Journalists have also been prevented from Tweeting or reporting from inside the courtroom.

When it resumed, it was later adjourned to Thursday due to time constraints.