HARARE – The battle between two Johanne Marange Apostolic Church’s brothers who lead separate factions is set to continue after the Supreme Court on Thursday referred their church-property-ownership wrangle back to the High Court.
According to court papers, the two men at the centre of the dispute, Clemence Momberume and his brother Noah Taguta, are fighting over two tins of water, three pots, two wooden boxes containing glasses and a tea pot, 11 priestly garments, seven church clothing and eight church belts.
Taguta filed a Supreme Court appeal after High Court Judge Alfas Chitakunye ruled in favour of Momberume in May this year.
However, Supreme Court judges Paddington Garwe, Anne-Marie Gowora and Antonia Guvava ruled that the order had been irregularly issued.
Taguta’s lawyer Ray Goba and Momberume’s legal counsel Nyaradzo Munangati-Manongwa told the court the order was issued in their absence and hence no arguments had been made.
“This is a long running dispute between two church factions which dates back to 2007, relating to ownership of church regalia and other paraphernalia,” Goba said.
“Both attorneys are agreeable that they did not appear before the court. The judgment came out of the blue.
“He (Chitakunye) handed down judgment but both parties denied having appeared,” he said, adding that he was seeking an order for the judgment to be expunged from the record.
Munangati confirmed to the court that a notice of set down was prepared but both parties were never given a set down date.
Garwe said in light of the submissions made, it showed the parties were not given an opportunity to be heard in court.
“In the circumstances, the judgment is improper. The appeal is allowed with no order as to costs,” Garwe said, setting aside Chitakunye’s judgment and referring the matter back to the High Court.
The two church factions are involved in a long-running battle, which resulted in the jailing of 10 members belonging to Taguta’s faction, after their appeal failed to find favour in the High Court, following a funeral brawl in 2001.