Churches fight over land
By Tendai Kamhungira
Two churches — Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church (Mugodhi) and Kruger Apostolic Faith Church (Kruger) — are fighting over land in Mashonaland East Province, in a battle that has since spilled into the High Court.
Mugodhi, which seeks authority over the land, has filed an application before the court suing the Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe Zvataida (UMPZ) Rural District Council (RDZ) and Kruger.
According to court papers, the two congregations are fighting for land at Chihwehwete, which falls under the UMPZ RDC jurisdiction.
Mugodhi told the court that it has been headquartered at Chihwehwete since 1953 and must not be dislodged by Kruger, which it claims was formed years later.
“At the establishment of the first defendant (UMPZ RDC) in 1980, plaintiff (Mugodhi) had since been in occupation of the premises from which it still conducts its business, having obtained the land from the traditional chief structures as was the case at the time of allocation of the land,” the court heard.
Mugodhi said over the years, it established infrastructure on the premises in a bid to effectively operationalise its activities.
It later went to the council’s offices in April 2012, seeking to secure a land tenure, but claims nothing has been done.
“By virtue of the long-standing undisturbed use and occupation of the premises since 1953, plaintiff seeks an order declaring it to be entitled to a lease agreement for purposes of rationalising the long acquired and held right to the land duly allocated thereto under the traditional chiefs’ system applicable, recognised and acknowledged at the time of such allocation.
“Second defendant (Kruger) is, without basis and bordering on the lines of malice and rather unorthodox practices, laying claim over the premises despite its formation way after plaintiff had since approached first defendant in light of the foregoing.
“As a consequence of the unsubstantiated claims by second defendant, plaintiff stands compromised in its position and confirmation of entitlement in the land in issue,” the court heard.
The respondents only filed an appearance to defend, without a full response to the claim, forcing Mugodhi to have the matter set down for hearing on the unopposed roll. Daily News