A ROW over a congregational shrine has erupted in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP)’s Zvataida area between two apostolic sects, Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church and Kruger Apostolic Faith Church.

The two groups are fighting over control and ownership of Chihwehwete Shrine. This has prompted Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church to approach the court seeking an order to compel the UMP Rural District Council to declare the latter to be entitled to a lease agreement from the local authority ahead of Kruger Apostolic Faith Church.

In its declaration, Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church said the rival sect was an establishment of a splinter group which branched off from it sometime in September 2015.

“The plaintiff’s (Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church) headquarters is situated at Chihwehwete which is within the 1st defendants’ (UMP) jurisdiction and has been conducting its business thereon since 1953,” Mugodhi sect said.

“At the establishment of the 1st defendant in 1980, plaintiff has since been in occupation of the premises from which it still conducts its business having obtained the land from the traditional chief structures as was the case at the time of allocation of the land.”

The Mugodhi sect added: “In light of the current land tenure systems, in April 2012, plaintiff approached 1st defendant with an application to secure the presently applicable land tenure and to date, no position has been arrived at by the 1st defendant despite several notifications and reminders to that effect.”

The Mugodhi sect further said by virtue of its “longstanding undisturbed use and occupation of the premises since 1953”, it was therefore seeking an order declaring it to be entitled to a lease agreement for the purposes of rationalising the long-acquired and held right to the land.

“2nd defendant (Kruger) is without basis and bordering on the lines of malice and rather unorthodox practices, laying claim over the premises despite its formation way after plaintiff had since approached the 1st defendant in light of the foregoing,” the Mugodhi sect said.

“As a consequence of the unsubstantiated claims by the 2nd defendant, plaintiff stands compromised in its position and confirmation of entitlement in the land in issue.”

Kruger Apostolic Faith Church has since entered an appearance to defend and is prepared to challenge its rival’s claims.