Ashdown Park residents, church in ugly fight

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RESIDENTS of Ashdown Park, Harare, are up in arms with Heartfelt International Ministries Church led by Apostle Tavonga Vutabwashe whose members they have accused of disturbing their peace.

BY STAFF REPORTER

In an interview with NewsDay this week the residents accused the church members of urinating on their properties.

The residents alleged that the church was allocated a stand in an area designated for residential stands and demanded that its construction be stopped.

However, the church’s spokesperson and broadcaster Admire Taderera said the stand was acquired procedurally, adding that the noise issue would be resolved in a fortnight through installation of sound-proof material inside the buildings.

One of the residents Pearson Mungofa, a former MDC-T MP for Highfields East, said the church was being constructed next to his house, adding that its members were defacating on his hedge.

“The stand belonged to my neighbour who then sold it in order to relocate to South Africa, but we (residents) were not consulted from the beginning about the intention to build a church on a stand meant to be a residential place,” said Mungofa.

“As residents we have complained about the change of land use from residential property to a church and we are still awaiting a response from council,” he said.

Mungofa said the noise created by the public address system used by the church was deafening, but what disturbed him most were the discharges of urine by church goers on his hedge.

“They use only two portable toilets for a congregation of more than 2 000 people and these are not enough for them. As a result some end up urinating on the hedge which creates the boundary between the church and my stand. This can create a health hazard. Their noise is so much that people who live as far as Westgate can hear it too and it disturbs neighbours and children who want to study,” Mungofa said.

Another resident Kupara Chanakira alleged the municipality did not consult the residents when they sold the stand to the church.

Harare West MP Jessie Majome confirmed the stand-off.

“On Saturday, January 11, I convened an urgent community meeting with residents of Ashdown Park to discuss the arrival of Heartfelt Church in Ward 16 suburb.

Residents are complaining about the noise during services, their makeshift toilets and the sharp increase in traffic along Ashdown Drive. Residents wanted to know from council how Heartfelt Ministries was able to change land use from residential to church use without their knowledge and consent as they would never have given that consent. They also wanted to know if the church had been awarded an Environment Assessment Certificate from the Environmental Management Agency,” said Majome.

Deputy Local Government minister Joel Biggie Matiza said he was aware of the issue.

“Churches cannot be built on residential stands. What the residents can do is to go to the council planning department to see if there was proper change of land use. If land use is changed it should be done through consultation with residents,” Matiza said.

But Taderera defended his church saying: “Everything was done above board and we can never do things clandestinely as a church. The church is also part of the community and in fact we are also involved in helping the community because Harare has water problems and the church has two boreholes where all members of the community are allowed to draw water from.

“At the moment I can understand the neighbours’ concerns about the noise. The issue is we were operating from an incomplete structure with all sides of the wall incomplete, but we have since purchased sound proof material and expect to solve the issue in a fortnight. The allegations on toilets are not true because there are two toilet structures, but inside those structures there are more toilets.”

22 COMMENTS

  1. majaira manj we have God with us and no one can be against us. kamweya kekusada kunamata munomboitirwa noise munenge muchitsvagei kumba sunday. you are former a former MP no current and mind you, you are not a town planner baba siyai MWARI anamatwe…

  2. Most of these new churches have no respect for residents. This particular church makes so much noise that each time they have sermons the residents cant just sleep. Churches should appreaciate that we cant all belong to particular denominations and should give us enough space, Yes they can do their thing but please do that quietly and respect other people’s choices. Council must insist on sound proof equipment if any of these churches want to erect structures in residential areas. In fact most of these preachers must be very ignorant and selfish because any one with a little brain inside would know that preferences differ in this diverse world and would also know the health consequences of housing such large congregants in the absence of sufficient ablution facilities. urinating in open spaces exposes our kids to all manner of diseases and should not be done at all.

  3. What Peace are yu talking about. Itouyayi tinamate tese, muite peace kwayo. Mota dzichatowanda zve especially this year. We have the state of art toilets, you should have come and inspect our church before writing. Don’t worry about noise, its under control. ASI PAMOTA APA WE ARE VERY SORRY TICHATOKIMBIRAWO PARKINGSPACE KWENYU KUMBA FORMER MP.

  4. If our members are urinating in pple’s lawns then i apologize to you sir will encourage them not to do so. The issue of sound we have acquired state of the art sound proof walls that will make sure our neighbors are not disturbed by our worship. Pandisingazive kuti tobatsirana sei pa issue yemotikari dzakawanda, there i cant pray that God impoverish us that we all move netsoka kana mabhasikoro to reduce traffic, our God just doesnt operate that way.

  5. may this God of our forefathers fight for the God of abrahama the God of jacob the God of isaac the God of Prophet emmanuel makandiwa na Mwari we muapostora vutahwashe fight for us we are bringing a shift in the world therefore u cnt do anything but fight us but like shadrech mishek and abednigo neva shall we bow down to any other God eapecially the one fighting in the fire God is with us

  6. The city council allocated that land to a church. Demons and evil spirits of that land are confused now. God is now around. Every evil shrine will burn in the mighty name if Jesus! Atleat 20 people every week from the area are turning their lives to Jesus, Lord Jesus is at work. Wait until the 20,000 seater cathedrial is finished. Jesus is not small and will not be silenced. How can you tell the holy spirit to reduce voice? how can u communicate with 6000 people without a PA System. All respect is given unto God not man. In all residental areas their is a church. Muslims at certains everyday make prayers and noise, who complains. JESUS IS AROUND AND EVIL DOERS ARE NO LONGER COMFORTABLE!!! NA JESU TINOENDA KURE!!! NA JESU ZVINOITA!!?

  7. Ndosaka muchifuriswa uswa , noise ndokunamata here? IngaJesu chaiye aitomboenda kwake ega kunonamata. Mp tengesai imba tivake bhawa tovaridzira dancehall tione vakatura zvavarikuita izvi. Kunhuwa kweweti havakuzive. Order pliz

  8. I note the concern of other residents who are not part of heartfelt ministries.Surely the church ought to respect other people’s concern and am sure that why they approached the City Council elected by the same residents for the stand..Acquisition of a sound proof system is a huge step towards alleviating the “challenge”and sinking of the borehole for the same residents who last received tap water somewhile ago should not be underrated,what a social responsibility gesture.

    Heartfelt Ministries is not a poor church,vana vemuapostora wejambanja ava.Vanotofamba nemotokari dzavo ende am afraid kuti dzichawanda zvinobhowa.As for the issue of using unethical ablution facilities, this surely should not be done but on the same vein it should be verified if in deed it happened cos the state of art ablution they have leaves one to wonder if its a rest room or visitors lounge.

    The “noise” can be contained by the influence of the holy spirit will destroy every machination of evil.This is guaranteed,and the best way is to repent and enjoy deep teaching of the word,right in your homes.

    The headline of the story graduates a simple issue to an artificial magnified chaos that is unwarranted.The headline and the content of the story reminds me of huge work that my Form four English teacher did for me.I am sure better choice of words are available Mr reporter if you are to go far beyond newsday.God bless you

  9. Micah
    Wati iwe, your God does not allow kuti usafamba nemota.,..Jesus aifamba nemavhiri here se emota ine petrol….Wakapusa hama yangu iwe …church yako ine ngozi..muchafa imi..netumota twenyu twamuno enda kuno shaina kusvondo…..

  10. Ngatisarasa musoro wenyaya please, its not the former MP only suffering its all within about 4km radius hamutonzwi kana TV yenyu pamba kana zvatanga. But zvimwe ndezvimwe jealous down Instrument yavo ine Power zvokuti kana ya Mak pamwe iri pasi.

  11. Taderera siya nyaya yebohole because pane remahara rakaiswa naMP weko riri pamaShop about 50 m kubva ipapo so ppl were not dry

  12. Hapana nyaya apa. They can just reduce volume mbijana then its solved. Vepa supermarkrt yeShoprite vakambounza road show PA system yaibvarura music ma weekends but vakanzwisissana and they reduced the volume it ewas amicably resolved

  13. This makes interesting reading. There is a Bar which occasionally MAKES similar noise near ASDOWN POLICE camp WE havent’ heard complains wani

  14. With all due respect everyone has the right to worship the way they want, but proper procedures have to be followed of where they worship, especially if its within public interest, for a small community of Ashdown Park, can we honestly accomodate a sudden rise in these ex jap cars/ traffic of 20000, let alone the worshipers themselves who we have no idea where the hell they are coming from, why dont you move the church to the Brook where your prophet resides and we surely will not complain,

  15. My heartfelt apologies for all the concerns that has been raised by the Ashdown Park Residence. I believe the Church Leadership is working toward resolving all the issues. I hope the residence can bear with the Church during the time their concerns are being addressed and believe the church can coexist with the Ashdown Park Residence in peace, love and unity.

    Thank you.

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