Elders seek rivals’ eviction as wrangle over church control rages

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THE legal wrangle over control of the Remnant of Spiritual True Israel Church in Bulawayo has taken a new twist with a group of church elders led by Munyaradzi Chirairo approaching the High Court seeking eviction of their rivals, now operating under the name Remnant of Spiritual True Israel Church.

BY SILAS NKALA

In his application, Chirairo, represented by lawyer Solomon Mguni, argued that the rival group had no legal standing to continue worshipping at the same premises, stand number 33941 Entumbane, as they had severed ties with the church.

He also accused the rebels of unilaterally changing the church’s name without effecting changes to the church constitution to justify their claim to the premises.

In his supporting affidavit, Chirairo said: “I must state that applicant derives the rights of occupation of the property through a valid lease agreement with the City of Bulawayo. The applicant was granted such rights of occupation and use of the property and buildings as far as back as December 2004.

“It is my humble belief that the respondent has no plausible defence to the applicant’s claim for eviction and has only filed an appearance to defend to buy time and delay the finalisation of this matter. Applicant is entitled at law to vindicate its rights against third parties.”

However, the rival group insisted that the Chirairo and his allies had no right to claim sole ownership of the church property.
“The plaintiff (Remnant Spiritual Israel Church) was formed by members who resigned from defendant and upon their resignation, the assets remains that of defendant. There is no member of the church who resigned with the assets of the church,” the defendant’s plea reads.

“When the said chairman, secretary and treasurer applied for the stand they did so representing the defendant and not their personal capacities and when they resign the assets remains with the defendant as the law does not allow members to take assets upon resignation.

“The defendant prays for the dismissal of plaintiff’s claim with costs at a higher scale.”
Bulawayo magistrate Adeline Mbeure heard the matter last week and reserved judgment to Thursday this week.