Court reserves ruling in Makandiwa case

HARARE - The High Court has reserved judgment in a matter in which United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Emmanuel Makandiwa and his wife, Ruth, are being sued for $6, 5 million by former congregants over alleged false prophecies.

The application was made by businessman Upenyu Mashangwa and his wife — Blessing.

High Court judge David Mangota on Monday shelved the ruling following an application by the Makandiwas — through their lawyer Lewis Uriri — excepting to the claim and demanding the court declines hearing the matter.

They argued that secular courts cannot deal with issues of faith and church related practices and doctrines.

On the other hand, the Mashangwas’ attorney, Thabani Mpofu, challenged the application, demanding the Makandiwas defend the lawsuit in court.

The Mashangwas alleged in court papers that in 2012, Makandiwa misrepresented that they would encounter a “debt cancellation miracle”, before encouraging them to continue tithing to the church.

But the couple’s house in Marlborough, Harare, was later attached and sold for $500 000 instead of $700 000.

They are demanding the same amount from Makandiwa.

However, Makandiwa, in his heads of argument has said the claim is embarrassing and is not premised on any cause of action.

“The plaintiffs (Mashangwas) did not plead undue influence or duress to influence paying varying sums being contributions to any of the defendants (Makandiwas). In other words, the plaintiffs are seeking to invite a secular court to inquire into matters of faith and the observance thereof being matters in respect of which a circular court is not equipped to inquire into.

“The present application is in substance an ecclesiastic dispute to which ‘neutral principles of law’ do not apply. In the form it has been launched, the present application necessarily requires an inquiry into matter of faith, church practice and doctrine,” the court heard.

Makandiwa argues a secular church will not inquire into matters of faith.

“This court is not an ecclesiastical court. It is a secular court of positive law without the means to inquire into matters of faith, church practice and doctrine. It is urged to decline prosecution,” Makandiwa said, further excepting to the claim.

In their application, the Mashangwas claim that “when making the representations, first defendant (Makandiwa) and second defendant (Ruth) knew that it was, in fact, false and fraudulent”.

“When the first and second defendants made the representations, they intended the plaintiffs to act thereon and in the result, increase on their monetary contributions to first, second and third defendants.”

The couple is also demanding $1, 7 million from Makandiwa, accusing him of recommending a de-registered lawyer, who reportedly duped them.

But Makandiwa said: “There is no plea that the alleged misrepresentations were directed at the plaintiffs with the intention that they act thereon and that they were induced to act thereon.

“There is no pleaded nexus between the alleged statement, the conduct of the plaintiffs and the alleged resultant loss.”

The Mashangwas are also demanding $2 million compensation, claiming their name was used to advance Makandiwa’s interests, adding that he also defamed them using newspaper articles.

They further claimed that they made several contributions to Makandiwa’s church, hoping to reap rewards.

However, Makandiwa has rubbished the claims.

“This claim is not only frivolous and vexatious, but it is also vague and embarrassing in as much as it is bad in law and does not disclose a cognisable cause of action,” the court heard.

Comments (1)

From how I view it, there's two sides to the story. The Mashangwa's have themselves to blame. Since when does prophecy make your problems disappear? When Mashangwa was donating monies to the church he was not forced to, he did it out of his own free will, belief and faith in materialistic values rather than the value of God in his life. So let this be a lesson to all and sundry. Do not use God for the wrong reasons coz he cannot be winked. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Mackenzie - 27 February 2018

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.