ZAOGA pleads for mercy

Dr Ezekiel Guti

Dr Ezekiel Guti

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa church (Zaoga), which built its university on someone’s gold claims in Bindura, has pleaded with the High Court to suspend its eviction and subsequent demolition of the multimillion-dollar Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University.

High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa last week granted a default order compelling the church to vacate the premises to pave way for businessman Mr Charles Chakumba to freely conduct his gold mining operations.

The default judgment was granted after Zaoga and its lawyers failed to turn up for the pre-trial conference.

Mr Chakumba, who was allocated the gold claims at Barasse Farm in Bindura in 1994, then successfully applied for a default judgment against the church through his lawyer, Mr Vusani Bangidza of Tavenhave and Machingauta Legal Practitioners.

Mr Chakumba was allocated mining claims 31 and 32 under registration number 22441 and 22442, respectively at Barasse Farm by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in 1994.

He had been operating in the area until 2010 when the church was also allocated the same piece of land for the construction of a university by Bindura municipality.

For Mr Chakumba to properly carry out his business, the university’s state-of-the-art educational facilities and other structures on the premises now have to be demolished.

On Wednesday, Zaoga lawyers, Debwe and Partners, filed an urgent chamber application for stay of execution of the default order pending determination of an application for rescission of the same decision.

The church argued that its failure to attend the pre-trial conference was due to a mistake on the part of the lawyers’ secretary who was served with the pre-trial hearing notice but misfiled it.

“Applicant (church) contends that the said judgment was obtained in default at the pre-trial conference as a result of a genuine mistake on the part of its legal practitioners’ secretary who upon service of the pre-trial conference notice, diarised it for March 16 instead of March 3 2016,” read the papers.

The church said it only became aware of the eviction order through a report published in The Herald.

“Applicant became aware of the said judgment on March 7 following the publication of an article concerning the matter in question in The Herald,” the church argued.

The church indicated that it had since filed an application for rescission of the default order and that pending finalisation of that matter, the eviction and possible demolition should be suspended.

The church is seeking a temporary interdict restraining Mr Chakumba from evicting the university, staff members and students at the campus.

According to summons issued by Mr Chakumba in August last year, the miner argued that he was the legitimate owner of the mining claims adding that Zaoga was barring him from exercising his mining rights. The church also claimed to be the legitimate owners of the piece of land after being allocated by council.

However, Mr Chakumba said, the dispute was resolved by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development that declared him as the rightful owner. Despite caution, Mr Chakumba stated, Zaoga refused to vacate the land and was continuously interfering with his right to the mining claims.

Mr Chakumba then instituted legal proceedings to evict the church. In its opposing papers, the university argued that it had been duly allocated the land by Bindura municipality in 2008 for the establishment of Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (Zegu).

“The said piece of land was allocated to defendant’s university by the municipality of Bindura in March 2008 in consultation with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,” read the papers.

The church argued that the matter should be dismissed because the summons were filed after the required period of up to three years in terms of the Prescription Act.

“Plaintiff became aware of Zegu’s occupation of the land in February 2010. On that date, the plaintiff’s claim was due. During the public consultations that were carried out by the Environment Impact Assessment team to assess the impact of the Zegu project in January 2010, plaintiff did not object to the university project in any way. The plaintiff’s summons was served on the defendant on the 19th of August 2015 that is more than three years after the date upon which the claim arose. In the premises, the plaintiff’s claim is prescribed in terms of the Prescription Act, Chapter 8:11,” the church argued.


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  • Judas Iscariot

    This is a very unfortunate and very costly mistake,that could have been avoided, if our gov’t ministries were working together. Obviously the ministry of mines, and urban development were not on the same page.ZAOGA should sue Bindura municipality, for all it’s expenses, and let this man continue his mining operations since he was there first.This regime has failed the nation at every level.

    • Collin Mackenzie

      He paid someone for the land and thanks God that’s the price you pay when you do thinks underhanded.
      That church and it’s sub standard infrastructure must move.

  • Masola Wamiruki

    Although this man might be the rightful owner of the land. The land belongs to the state and the state can re-allocate the land for specific purpose at a specific time, when the land was re-allocated to ZAOGA, the man did not raise his objections on time. leaving room for ZAOGA to go ahead with construction. Questions that should guide the decision making process are. Who had a right to allocate land by the time , ie was it the municipality or the ministry of mines or lands?

    the next question would then be if a double allocation was done. then the third would be a cost-benefit analysis for the nation at large, Where do we stand to gain more.
    Educating the 5000 plus students annually over enriching a small scale miner who intends to resuscitate his business because the land has been reallocated.

    • ndiwasu

      you are wrong. legally zaoga had no case and that is why the high court made that ruling. they only got a reprieve because the man “withdrew” his case otherwise legally they had lost it.

  • Doctor Lee

    jus wondering where was this guy when consruction started??is it really a rich mine claim and why was he not operating…just wondering

    • tafamutekwe

      Very good questions. I suspect the man is a professional speculator. He want ZAOGA to part with a fortune if they wish to retain their academic investment. If indeed that land has any gold deposits worth talking of, they are not even enough to attract an overzealous makorokoza.With the law seemingly tilted in his favour this is a very unfortunate situation which requires sober senses.Makandiwa’s attractive Chitungwiza church building and Sam Levy’s Village were once in the same dilemma before sober town planning senses were applied to counter what would have resulted in legitimate but economically costly demolitions so I pray the same sober decisions will finally prevail in this same situation.

      • Changamire

        Dai paive neGold rinemusoro vaichera foundation yemaBuildings dai vakafa nemari vawana gold

  • Ngwekazi

    Thank you Judas Iscariot. ZAOGA should sit down with this man and solve the problem. Going to court will not help either. Mr Chakumba is the rightful owner of this piece of land. Ngatiregedzei kuedza Mwari. I know church members are busy praying and fasting so that Mr. Chakumba loses his land. Its wrong. Mwari ndewemunhu wese. I urge Ezekiel Guti to sit down with Mr. Chakumba. Mukaona Chakumba achiomesa moyo, talk to God. Zvikaramba God has other plans for ZAOGA. We don’t want to be seen like PHD Ministries who trespassed into a neighbour’s boundary. Kana zvaramba Zaoga, sue the City Council of Bindura coz its not your fault.

    • Tendekayi.TE

      ZAOGA cannot sit down with the miner guys. The miner should go to whoever allocated the land, and ZAOGA should go to who allocated the land. Putting ZAOGA and the miner together is abdicating the responsibility of the ones who messed up in the first place.

  • Cde Mgagao

    The holy spirit failed ZAOGA and ZEGU in terms of prophecy! Kutadza kuona musimba ra Jeso Christo nhai Baba va Guti? Mwari wa Ezekiel pindirayi , please. Amen!

    • Petros Magomazi

      I am not sure how you concluded that the Holy Spirit failed. Being a christian does not exempt one from facing challenges. Challenges will come and they will be overcome as you shall see. Further, those who are saying the law is tilted in his favour should read the article again. The key issue is that Mr. Chakumba did not exercise his right in the prescribed period from the time when the Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted. So the onus is on him to prove that his right to object was not prescribed by natural operation of the law at the end of the prescription period.

  • Kingstone Makubika

    Demolishing the University will be a diabolic act. For the sake of public good, let the institution remain whereis. The Claimant should be given an alternative mining claim elsewhere.

  • Mwana waBaba

    Its unfortunate that ZEGU is there to stay

    • hurungwe

      yebo yess

    • tan tan

      listen naw guys………….. mining is going to benefit 1 person… the minor…. but our university is for us, imagine yoself being 1 of the undergraduates at a university about to be destructed,
      think people. think
      and mind u, to ansa dat ati mweya auna kuona………… mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mind your language my man, pliz
      remember jesus was also crucified, but it daznt mean mweya auna kuona, some things are designed to happen

      • Tendekayi.TE

        It’s not about who is going to benefit more. It’s about what caused the mistake and who should take responsibility for it.

  • Tendekayi.TE

    They already bought the land from Bindura. So Bindura needs to compensate this miner for the mistake, or otherwise compensate ZAOGA. Either way, there’s no avoiding the fact that Bindura is at fault and Bindura should not go unpunished however the suit plays out.

    • igimanigi

      they did not buy it. they got it for free.

      • Tendekayi.TE

        Whatever the case, they got land from Bindura, so if anyone is at fault it should be Bindura

      • Tendekayi.TE

        All the same, Bindura should pay. Anyhow presdent vakati ndeyavo lol

  • Tendekayi.TE

    to who?

  • Do de Maths

    Zaoga should offer this gentleman a 10% annual gratuity equivalent to a %age of annual earnings for a period calculated as expected life of mine.

    • Tendekayi.TE

      No, Bindura should give that offer, they are the ones who caused this mess from my assessment. ZAOGA didn’t just see vacant land and occupy it. They were given that land by someone.

    • Jonso

      No i dont think so. The miner didnt comply. He was supposed to have responded to the advert opposition the acquisition of that land. Where was he? If he owns the ground, then he should compensate the church for its structures and the church can build elsewhere. It will be up to him to demolish the structures.

    • Jonso

      Plus guys dont play with spiritual things, that mineral is no longer there, God has already removed it. kkkkkkkkkk

  • Nonoe

    incase u ddnt noe, ZAOGA has already built their structures in that land…

  • Chaibva chaora

    I smell a rat here. If my memory saves me right there was an article in the herald preventing the same university to offer a certain degree should (be law) well after the university had advertised. Now the story has changed to ownership of the land which was duly sold to ZAOGA and someone wait for the investment to be at an advanced stage then come up with i would call them fake papers. If there was gold i can bet with my last cent this man would not have waited this long. Common sense would say if someone is allocated this mine claim in 1994 and up to now he has not done anything god forbid he is not utilising it, then ZAOGA is allocated same piece of land much later and has utilised , sorry i would say the land belongs to ZAOGA. There are so many gold claims out there he can get another one for free even kumarange.

    Otherwise the story says the land is a farm , so before the owner of the farm (Barasse) also come to the party with his papers let it be given to production. so i think there is politics behind it, one ministers did not get some shares in the university hence all the support to this miner. Let justice prevail !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Remember econet story after buying all the equipment to set up the network, the the licence issue came up. Politics always

    • hokoyo

      thats why you are not a judge. did you follow the story. the judge ruled that zaoga should vacate. only after the man “withdrew” his case did zaoga get a reprieve.

  • Tendekayi.TE

    I don’t know in how many other countries a person can buy land, develop it, inhabit it, stay for 6 years and then be told later that someone else had the rights to the land. This case has similarities with the Arlington Estate case, in which a lot of people had their houses demolished because the land was not theirs, despite having paperwork to show that due process had been carried out. My question is, if you buy land from the COUNCIL, and then someone else tells you that you were allocated the land illegally, who should be blamed?

  • Tendekayi.TE

    ko kubatsira vanoshaya dzidzo :)

  • Chinoz

    Chero zvamataura, that university will not be demolished

  • Collin Mackenzie

    He must move period

  • Fred Muchena

    no, the land belongs to this gentleman

  • Nonoe
  • ndiwasu

    there are many ways of evaluating. they can use what he was extracting over a period at the time and do an extrapolation.