Home Zimbabwe News Tudor Bismark’s New Life Covenant Church banned from constructing new church

Tudor Bismark’s New Life Covenant Church banned from constructing new church

Tudor Bismark

Tudor Bismark’s New Life Covenant Church banned from constructing new church. iHarare has confirmed that the church’s plans to build a new church building on some wetlands in Newlands were thwarted after civic society organisation, Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) dragged the church to court. HWT which advocates for the preservation of the capital’s wetlands obtained a court order on Thursday ordering the church to cease developments on the wetlands in Newlands. The church was also ordered to stop harming the environment.

Bishop Tudor Bismark’s New Life Covenant Church has been dealt a blow by the High Court after they were barred from building a new church in Newlands.

The interdict by High Court Justice Chinamora which was issued on Wednesday 11 December 2019 came after Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) and Newlands Residents Association (NRA) filed an application in the High Court on Friday 26 April 2019 seeking an order to declare as unlawful the construction of a church building by New Life Covenant Church (NLCC) in Harare’s Newlands suburb for failing to comply with the requirements to developing on any land in City of Harare.

Through their lawyer Advocate Fadzayi Mahere, who was instructed by Fiona Iliff of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, HWT and NRA argued that the degradation and pollution that the construction of a church building will cause to City of Harare’s natural water resources violates their rights including those of their beneficiaries’ and the public’s environmental rights to a healthy environment as protected in Section 4 of the Environmental Management Act and Section 73(1) of the Constitution as well as their right to safe, clean and potable water provided in Section 77 of the Constitution.

In court, New Life Covenant Church opposed HWT and NRA’s application arguing that it had obtained the necessary development permit allowing it to carry out construction work. However, Justice Chinamora on Wednesday 11 December 2019 declared the construction of a church by New Life Covenant Church on a wetland as unlawful and ordered NLCC to cease all developments on the wetland and remove all machinery until it has satisfied the requirements of the law.

The Newlands wetland is the latest to be saved by ZLHR after the human rights organisation intervened on several occasions to prevent unlawful developments on wetlands, which are important ecosystems and a critical source of water. Harare’s wetlands have come under threat in recent years, with a number of major construction projects taking place on wetlands.

A wetland is an area of land where water covers the soil or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. Wetlands are important because they act like sponges that absorb rainwater which would otherwise be lost as run-off. By absorbing rainwater, wetlands control groundwater flow, preventing flooding, siltation and erosion.

Wetlands refill river systems during the dry season, when other water sources dry up, preventing drought. Wetlands also filter and purify groundwater before it enters citizens’ water supply, protecting against disease and toxins. The Constitution requires the State to take appropriate measures to protect the environment and our water resources for present and future generations.

More Details To Follow…

Source – iHarare

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