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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, Court Injuction stops 2 Church Factions in Kissy
By Theophilus S. Gbenda
Nov 2, 2009, 12:18
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The High Court of Sierra Leone has ordered both parties claiming ownership of a church building, school and piece of land situated at Looking Town, Kissy, in the east end of Freetown, not to go any where close to the property until verdict is delivered to ascertain who the real owner is.

To what many observers have dismissed as an affront to the body of Christ, the New Harvest Ministries, headed by the Reverend S.E.B Johnson as General Superintendent, has come under the spotlight in the wake of the current infighting between the aforementioned ministry on one hand and a break away faction of the same ministry on the other hand.

The matter which is currently in the High Court awaiting hearing and verdict, has become topical because of its intense nature and giving the fact that if the court rules against the break away faction, it will be the first ever instance of open church grabbing in the religious history of Sierra Leone.

According to Awareness Times investigations, the whole thing started following the termination of the services of Reverend Sylvanus Dumbuya as Pastor-in-Charge of the New Harvest Central Church and also as Head Teacher of the New Harvest Academy Secondary School at Looking Town, Kissy.

Reports say the elders of the New Harvest Central Church, displeased with the manner in which their pastor was sacked, deemed it fit to break away from the parent body, the New Harvest Ministries, and become an independent body and by so doing, retaining the services of their favoured Reverend Sylvanus Dumbuya.

While breaking away is not a factor in the unfolding matter, what seems to be at the heart of it all is the fact that the break away congregation has laid claim to the church building and the furniture therein, the primary and secondary school buildings, the land on which the church and school buildings are situated and other valuable assets believed to be the legitimate property of the New Harvest Ministries, known previously as the New Life Services.

Since then, bad blood has characterized the relationship between the break away congregation and the central body, with accusations and counter allegations of tribal sentiment and threats of witch gun going back and forth.

Both sides claim to have authentic documents legitimizing their claim of ownership of the disputed piece of land and said structures, and by indications, they are both quite determined to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion in the court or elsewhere as the case maybe.

A recent attempt by the central body to assert its authority over the administration of the schools by appointing a new principal for the secondary school and a new head teacher for the primary school saw the merciless beating and wounding of the two appointees when they ventured to their new posting to take up their respective duties.

The alleged beating of the two new appointees saw the subsequent arrest and detention of Reverend Sylvanus Dumbuya and other notable members of the break away faction. It has therefore been widely acclaimed that the move by the High Court to order the two opposing sides not to access the disputed facilities until a verdict is delivered, is the first step to ease down the unprecedented tension which many observers have dismissed as un-Christian. Meanwhile, in response to concerns raised by parents whose children and wards are affected by the courts decision, the General Superintendent of the New Harvest Ministries, Reverend S.E.B Johnson, is said to be working in close collaboration with the local authorities in the area, parents and teachers, to temporally relocate the school until ruling is delivered.

Meanwhile also, reliable sources have intimated that payment of teachers of the affected schools have already been effected by Reverend Johnson and his team.

It is not immediately known how the break away faction will react to the latest developments, but what is clear is it seems to be deflated.

Hearing of the matter has been slated for sometime next month.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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