Johane Masowe Vadzidzi VaJesu (Apostles of Christ) Church, an apostolic sect led by Mr Aaron Mhukuta popularly known as Mudzidzi Wimbo, is embroiled in a bitter land wrangle with land baron Dr Fredrick Mabamba, a dispute that is likely to leave at least 92 Chitungwiza families homeless.

The church claims to be the legitimate lessee of a 3,4 hectare plot, Stand Number 21325 Unit A, Seke, but Dr Mabamba’s organisation, United We Stand Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, subdivided the property and allocated it to at least 92 people. Development has since been effected on some of the subdivided stands and structures are already in place.

The apostolic sect is now seeking to recover its land through a High Court application. In the application for a declaratory order, interdict and eviction, the church listed the cooperative, Dr Mabamba and Chitungwiza Municipality as respondents.

The church wants an order declaring all the developments made on the church stand to be illegal. All members of Dr Mabamba’s cooperative, according to the draft order, should be evicted from the houses, shops and other structures illegally built on the piece of land.

The church also wants Dr Mabamba to be barred from allocating stands to other people on the disputed piece of land. The church, whose headquarters is at Goora, Madziva near Mt Darwin, has a branch called Ijuweti J, in Seke.

Madzibaba Oshneck Mudapakati is the leader of the Ijuweti branch. In 2004, the church successfully applied for a piece of land to construct a clinic.

Council in September 2009 allocated Stand Number 21325 Unit A to the church on a lease basis. The church then engaged the services of Dr Mabamba for the purposes of servicing the stand.

He was also engaged in drawing up and approving plans, obtaining permits from council, setting up sewer and water reticulation systems on the stand and road construction.

According to the oral agreement, Dr Mabamba was supposed to be paid through stands for the work done. Instead, Dr Mabamba illegally allocated the stands and the cooperative members erected some structures on the piece of land.

Dr Mabamba, according to the church, did not obtain development permits for the land and proceeded to construct the houses illegally.

“Applicant does not want to be associated with illegalities, especially issues to do with stands and houses having been erected on their stands,” reads part of the application.

Chitungwiza Town Clerk Mr George Makunde confirmed that the structures were illegal. “The third respondent as the municipal authority in Chitungwiza did not receive any request or agree to any subdivision, if such was done, then it was done illegally,” reads his affidavit. herald