Thursday, 15 April 2021

HRE COUNCIL DEMOLISHES THREE CHURCHES

HARARE City Council has demolished three churches operating illegally to pave way for Prophet Freddy’s Goodness and Mercy Ministries.

The demolitions which took place on Tuesday affected Christ the King church, Sungano yeVapositori and Vafudzi veBethlehem located along High Glen road.

The churches have cried foul alleging they were not given the first right to buy the premises since they were the occupants and notice to vacate the premises since it was a recreational park.

City of Harare spokesperson, Michael Chideme, yesterday said Prophet Freddy had successfully applied for the piece of land following the demolition of his own illegal structures in Glen View.

A priest with Sungano yeVapositori, George Chinyani, accused City of Harare of siding with the man of cloth.  

“We were left exposed and I do not remember receiving any notice to vacate the place since it was part of the recreational park.

“We once approached the City of Harare with the intention to apply for this place but we relaxed since they promised to consider us when the place was due for church stands.

“I want to believe Prophet Freddy used the local authority to fight us but if it was his intention it is ungodly considering that we all believe in one God,” said Chinyani.

Vafudzi veBethelhem leader, Madzimai Miriam, real name Patricia Saraega said the demolition was inhuman. “Ndanga ndichirapira vanhu payereswa rangu asi ndasiiwa pachena.

“I am yet to believe this and I do not know where to take my anointed clay pots and cloths to,” she said.  A caretaker at Christ the King church, Bright Tambara, 36, said they had been operating their church business at the site since 2015.

Chideme said inspection had been carried out by development control inspectors two weeks ago and it was established that the occupiers had no valid lease with City of Harare.

“They were subsequently served with a 48-hour notice in terms of clause 18(2) of the Urban Councils Act: Statutory Instrument 79 of 1979 which compels anyone occupying Council land illegally to vacate within 48 hours or risk enforcement,” said Chideme.

Asked why the council did not consider the current occupiers, Chideme said “The legal lease holder now is Goodness and Mercy Ministries fronted by Prophet T Freddy,” said Chideme.

Tambara said congregants are worried of the next step because they had nowhere to go and meet for worship.

“We don’t know how they chose prophet Freddy over us when we are all conducting the same business of worship.

“We are also convinced that the outspoken prophet used his means to gain favour with council before us,” said Tambara

Contacted for comment, Prophet Freddy, said he was lucky to have his application considered by council.

However, he urged churches who are still operating illegally to approach authorities and apply for places of worship while it is day. “Our own illegal structure was demolished last year and that was a necessary blow for us to put our house in order and acquire a legal site,” said Prophet Freddy.

He added; “Everything happens together for the good to them that love God. “Haters thought that was the end of Goodness and Mercy Ministries and we are back with a bang just watch the space.

“After everything is said and done, we thank God who is the owner of the Church and not forgetting our church members and followers at large who supported us. I did a video of a song Ndirikurwadziwa but now I am happy and believing in God.

“It was a difficult phase but I see light at the end of the tunnel,” said Prophet Freddy.  H Metro

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