By Kudzai Chikiwa
A Bulawayo church employee and his family have been left homeless after they were evicted from church premises following wrangles pitting church leaders.
Mr Njabulo Ngwenya who has been a United Pentecostal Church (UPC) caretaker in New Lobengula for 14 years said he received a phone call from a church leader notifying him that his family and property had been removed from the church premises on Wednesday last week.
Mr Ngwenya said that his eviction comes during a time when church leaders are involved in nasty fights in the courts.
“I have been working for UPC since 2004 and they last paid me in 2009. There have been divisions and fights among leaders. However l do not mind their fights, my problem is that why are they evicting me while they owe me huge sums of money. I come from Nkayi and how do they expect me to carry my family and belongings?” he asked.
“This came as a short notice; l just received a phone call that am no longer wanted. Pastor Clifford Makandise is chasing away his senior Pastor Gwebu and he is saying l should go as well. I am trying to explain to them that l am a church employee not Gwebu’s person.”
He said all along he has been surviving through menial jobs in Hillside suburb. Mr Ngwenya said he lives with his wife and five children and one of his children is asthmatic and he cannot afford buying medication for him.
“Right now my family is outside the house and my grade two daughter is being exposed to cold.
“She is always in and outside hospital,” said Mr Ngwenya.
He said he needs the church to give him his salary since he has nothing to do with their internal conflicts. “I don’t comment on people’s fights but what I need is money so that I can at least go to my rural home. These pastors are not even listening to me,” he said.
Contacted for a comment, Pastor Makandise said he could not speak since he was at a noisy place and would only comment after some days.
“There is a lot of noise and I can’t be talking to you. You can call me after some days then I will be able to comment,” he said.
In July last year, Pastor Makandise sued Reverends Gwebu, Samuel Mugwiji and Pride Nhokwara saying they were leading a breakaway faction.
The Bulawayo High Court blocked the four reverends from using the church’s name and buildings as well as interrupting services and disrupting church activities.
Justice Martin Makonese also ordered them to stop attending and interrupting any proceedings conducted by the UPCZ. In his founding affidavit, Pastor Makandise, said his rivals were working in cahoots with an “errant” pastor, Reverend Antony Wungano Nyandoro in leading a group of church members who sought to unconstitutionally replace the church’s national board and executive board.
Pastor Makandise accused his rivals of gross mismanagement of church funds and usurping the functions of the executive board.
The reverends through their lawyer, Mr Kholwani Ngwenya of TJ Mabhikwa and Partners, argued that Pastor Makandise purported to act on behalf of the church on the basis of a fake resolution passed at a meeting held in Kwekwe on February 27 in 2017.
They also challenged the legality of the church constitution, saying it was never signed and adopted by all members of the board.
The four also accused Pastor Makandise’s leadership of having allowed the Zimbabwe People First party to use a church property in Eastlea, arguing that it is in contravention of the church’s constitution which bars leasing of its property to political parties. The Chronicle