Methodist Church property attached over labour dispute

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UNITED Methodist Church’s Old Mutare Mission property, which include vehicles, solar heaters and office furniture was attached by the Sheriff of the High Court after the institution was ordered to pay a former administrator at its orphanage $36 000 following his unfair dismissal two years ago.

Mr Luke Makwanya who was employed as the administrator of Fairfield Orphanage through his Harare-based lawyers, Sawyer and Mkushi Legal Practitioners, successfully sued Old Mutare Mission for unfair termination of his contract in 2015.

He had a running contract which was due to expire in 2018, but the responsible authorities dismissed him on three-months notice, which was dismissed by the Labour Court.

Mr Makwanya is now being owed $36 100 by Old Mutare Mission.

Armed with a writ of execution, the Sheriff of the High Court swooped on the mission recently and attached the orphanage’s mini-bus, solar heaters, the station chairman, Reverend Dr Chimbunde’s vehicle and office furniture as well as Mutasa District Superintendent, Rev Mutidzawanda’s vehicles.

The property is being stored at a warehouse in Mutare’s Nyakamete industrial area.

The church through its lawyers, Mr Webster Jiti of Musendekwa and Mtisi Legal Practitioners filed an urgent stay of execution chamber application, Number H/C 5963/17 at the High Court last Thursday and was dismissed by High Court Judge, Justice Amy Tsanga.

Justice Tsanga ruled that the matter should be filed through the normal roll.

Mr Makwanya’s attorneys, Sawyer and Mkushi Legal Practitioners confirmed the dismissal of the matter and said they (Old Mutare administrators) were just trying to buy time.

“Our client had a running contract and was unfairly dismissed. The matter was heard at the Labour Court and was struck off the roll. It was once heard at the High Court, but was referred back to the Labour Court, which confirmed that the matter had been struck off the roll.

“This is the reason why a writ of execution was issued resulting in the attachment of the institution’s property. They approached the High Court again and tried to mislead it that the matter was still pending at the Labour Court, but it was struck off the roll again,” said the attorneys. Although Mr Jiti was not available for comment as he was said to be in court, Administration Assistant to the United Methodist Church Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa, Rev Allan Gurupira, confirmed the attachment of the property.

“The issue you are talking about is still pending before the courts. Yes, our property was attached at Old Mutare Mission because of one individual who was dismissed from the institution. The case has been dragging before the courts for some time now and this latest development has a huge bearing on the welfare of orphans at Fairfield Orphanage.