THE battle to control Johane Marange Apostolic Church and the late Mutumwa St Noah Taguta’s estate is heating up with each passing day, with family members dragging the issue into the courts.
When Mutumwa Taguta (82) died on Easter Sunday last week, spirited efforts were made by his nephew, Mr Clements Momberume, to stop burial proceedings, arguing that he was not supposed to be buried at the summit of the sacred Chinyamukumba Mountain where the church’s founder, Baba Johane Muchabaya Momberume was also buried.
Mr Momberume, through his lawyers — Maunga, Maanda and Associates — applied to interdict Saratiel Taguta and Titos Taguta or their agents from interfering with the gravesite of their late father (Johane Muchabaya Momberume), which is at the south-western side of the Chimyamukumba Mountain Range in Taguta Village under Chief Marange.
The interdict was granted by Mutare provincial magistrate, Mr Langton Carter.
Despite the court interdict, the burial of Mutumwa Taguta who was accorded a State-assisted funeral proceeded and was attended by thousands of people, mainly Johane Marange Church followers.
However, Mr Momberume, through his attorney, Mr Passmore Nyakureba of Maunga, Maanda and Associates, is now seeking to stop a traditional ceremony which has been slated for Sunday to distribute traditional family ornaments which were in the late Mutumwa Taguta’s possession.
The Taguta family has also engaged their own legal representative, Ms Medusa Simango of Mupindu Legal Practitioners.
Both Mr Nyakureba and Ms Simango yesterday (Thursday) confirmed that they were seized with the issue.
Yesterday, Mr Nyakureba wrote to the Taguta attorney advising her on his client’s intentions to stop Sunday’s traditional ceremony.
Ms Simango confirmed receipt of the correspondence and said she was getting instructions from her clients on the way forward.
Mr Nyakureba wrote: “We are advised by our client that you are planning a traditional ceremony to be held on Sunday , May 1, 2022 to distribute traditional family ornamental things which were in the possession of the deceased (Mutumwa Taguta) whom they went on to bury at a site they were debarred by the court in plain defiance of an order of the court not to do so.
“As you may already have been instructed, our client is now the Momberume family patriarch following the death of Noah Taguta Momberume whose burial he sought to be done in accordance with the family culture, norms and values.
‘‘Our client was not invited for that ceremony which he must preside over as the patriarch. It is our client and him alone who can call for such a ceremony at this juncture.”
Mr Nyakureba asked the Taguta family representatives to respond within 24 hours, with failure to do so resulting in them filing an urgent application to have the process stopped by the court.
In an interview, Ms Simango said: “I am still getting instructions from my clients.
‘‘I am still preparing the opposition papers and will be in a better position to comment when I am done.
‘‘In fact, l only got the instructions to represent my clients yesterday (Wednesday) and I only became aware of the Sunday ceremony through Mr Momberume’s attorneys.”
ln a separate interview, the Taguta family spokesperson, Mr Phillip Taguta confirmed Sunday’s ceremony.
“We will be having a traditional ceremony on Sunday to distribute part of our late father’s estate; that is his clothes and other related things.
‘‘Nothing will stop us because he (Clements Momberume) is not part of the family as our relationship with him was terminated when he decided to do his own things,” said Mr Taguta.
On the alleged assets stripping being done by some of the late Mutumwa Taguta’s sons, Mr Taguta said: “Those are all lies. People are just speculating as everything is in order.
‘‘Like we said before, noone has been appointed to take over the church leadership.
‘‘We will be guided by the Holy Spirit. I am also young to comment much on our late father’s estate.”