THREE bouncers from Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church (Ufic) yesterday appeared before Harare magistrate Gideon Ruvetsa facing assault charges after they allegedly pummelled the church’s auditor in a scuffle over missing tithes.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Munyaradzi Rukato (37), Farai Chuma (25) and Stewart Tangani (age not given) are accused of assaulting Mlungisi Sibanda, accusing him of discouraging congregants from tithing for a project initiated by the church’s security staff.
The trio denied the charge and accused Sibanda, who is also the church’s security secretary, of being a violent person and an attention seeker.
The State alleges that the incident occurred during a Ufic gathering at the City Sports Centre on September 10 last year.
It is alleged Sibanda was chairing the meeting, as Rukato, who is chairperson of the security department, was away.
Sibanda allegedly told congregants that there was some money paid by the congregants, which had not been recorded and was missing.
It is State’s case that Rukato later arrived and ordered Sibanda to step down, and the latter complied.
Rukato allegedly went on to insult Sibanda, saying he was not allowed to address the congregation.
The State alleges Sibanda then stood up arguing that he had the right to address the congregation as the church auditor.
As tempers flared, Chuma, Rukato and Tangani allegedly ganged up and assaulted Sibanda.
After the fracas, Rukato allegedly drove away, as Chuma, Tangani and another unidentified congregant continued assaulting Sibanda, while other church members watched from a distance. The State alleges Sibanda eventually escaped and reported the matter to the police, leading to the accused’s arrest.
The trial continues on May 9.