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Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Church gets High Court reprieve over council eviction order

Story by Theophilus Chuma

THE Harare City Council has once again courted controversy over a shadowy deal involving land leased to a church in Willowvale, which has seen the High Court barring the local authority from interference.

Stand 143 Willowvale, is a place of worship, that slowly turned into a legal battleground between the Harare City Council and Johanne Masowe Marimba.

Available information indicates Johanne Masowe Chishanu Jerusalem Baptist Church Marimba is leasing the land for purposes of worship with the contract said to run until 2028.

The same piece of land has, however, been sold to Stoodblaze Private Limited.

Sources say the Harare City Council was pressured into effecting an eviction order.

A letter dated 28 March 2024 signed by Engineer (FIRST NAME) Chawatama the Director of Works at Harare City Council, confirms the eviction order.

A response letter by the church’s legal representatives, Zuze Law Chambers highlighted that the church has a lease with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works signed on the 20th of December 2018.

The lawyers stated the land in question is state property, and query the involvement and link between Stoodblaze Private Limited and Harare City Council.

They also questioned the Harare City Council over its mandate to dispose of state land.

Johane Masowe Chishanu Jerusalem Baptist Church through its legal representatives approached the High Court seeking intervention over the move by Harare City Council to demolish the structures at the site by the church.

Through an urgent chamber application to the High Court submitted on the 11th of this month, Johane Masowe Chishanu Jerusalem Baptist Church argued its position resulting in a relief that has barred the Harare City Council from effecting any demolitions on the church site.

The matter continued in the High Court this Monday.

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