The Independent African Church (Mushakata) has approached the High Court seeking to evict its three pastors from church premises in Highfield, Harare, and Sakubva and Dangamvura in Mutare, accusing them of having formed their own factions in an attempt to take over the running of the church affairs.

In the application, the church cited pastors Shame Chituri of Highfield, Blessing Mbofana of Sakubva and Elisha Kambonje, occupying the Dangamvura church house, as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, the church’s secretary-general Rodwell Pangakushoma said he had approached the court seeking the evictions of the pastors by virtue of a national executive council resolution giving him the mandate to do so.

“The first and second respondents (Chituri and Mbofana) are applicant’s former pastors who formed their own faction in a failed attempt to take over the running of the church affairs sometime in 2011. During their tenure as applicant’s pastors, respondents were provided and offered accommodation by the applicant as part of their benefits,” he said.

The secretary-general said the two pastors were later dismissed from employment after a disciplinary hearing and eventually dismissed from employment, but were refusing to vacate the church’s properties.

“After this honourable court resolved the church dispute by confirming the legitimate leadership of the church . . . notices were written to the respondents to vacate the applicant’s properties, which they occupy without the applicant’s consent, but the respondents have not complied.”

He added: “As for the third respondent (Kambonje), there is no relationship of whatever type between him and the applicant and there is no basis for him to occupy applicant’s property.”

However, in his opposing affidavit, Chituri dismissed Pangakushoma’s assertions, arguing he was still the bishop of the church, adding the latter had no locus standi to institute proceedings on behalf of the church.

“There is nowhere in the (church’s) constitution where Rodwell Pangakushoma can allege to have derived the authority to institute legal proceedings on behalf of the applicant. To this end, it is submitted that this procedure was not followed and, as such, the resolution is of no significance to the church,” Chituri said.

In his response, Mbofana said he was still the district superintendent within the church and was stationed in Manicaland Province, adding he together with Chituri were still pastors of the church.

And, Kambonje also said he was a pastor in the church stationed at Dangamvura and had not been excommunicated from the same.