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Churches fight over worshipping stand

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The Apostolic Faith Church (AFC) has dragged the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) to the High Court claiming the Bishop Chad Gandiya-led Anglican diocese of Harare fraudulently took over its place of worship.

BY CHARLES LAITON

AFC filed a court application last week through its leader Evangelist Stephen Musakwa, who cited CPCA, the Local Government ministry and Zvakatanga-Sekuseka Housing Co-operative as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Musakwa said it was regrettable that churches had resorted to taking their disputes to the formal courts contrary to the doctrine of love espoused by the Holy Scriptures after realising that “CPCA has exhibited conduct that is unChristian”.

According to Musakwa, the stand in dispute is number 1641 Sally Mugabe Heights, Acorn Township in Harare, which his church has been occupying since 2004.

“We (AFC) have ever since occupied the stand as if it were ours on the understanding that the second respondent (Local Government ministry) was in the process of confirming our application. We also got support and firm assurance from second respondent’s chairman Mr J Satombo, who is also our church member, that the second respondent was definitely going to allocate us the said stand,” Musakwa said.

“It only turned out in 2017 that the second respondent had proceeded to allocate our stand to the first respondent (CPCA), who is definitely a late comer. First respondent acted with certain malice and dishonesty untypical of a Christian organisation.

“Its (CPCA) officials and members are fully aware that since 2004 and that is 14 years ago, we have been worshiping on this stand every week on a Sunday… the stand was fenced.
We built a cottage that is occupied by our caretaker and this structure has been there since around 2004. In addition, we also built pit latrines for male and female congregants.
This we all did on the understanding and with the legitimate expectation that the stand was going to be allocated to us.”

Musakwa further said the decision by the Local Government ministry to allocate their stand to the CPCA, despite them having been the first to occupy the stand, was in violation of section 3 of the Administrative Justice Act.

“Second respondent failed to act reasonably and in a fair manner. We never failed to pay for the stand. There is absolutely no basis why second respondent disqualified us. I can only suspect that the second respondent attempted to elbow us out through corruption of its officials,” Musakwa said.

“First respondent cannot, therefore, plead innocence. They went behind our back in an attempt to snatch a stand they knew we were lawfully occupying. Any self-respecting Christian organisation should not act in a dishonest manner that the first respondent did against us.”

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