Man electrocuted in church

Report by Nompumelelo Muyambiri and Andwatch Mambo

A Christ Citadel International Church (CCIC) representative, Lindani Ndaba, has been hauled before court together with the Norton Town Council on charges of culpable homicide after it failed to stop the construction of their double storey church regardless of danger warnings from the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC).

Ndaba, Norton Town Council represented by Bester Maramba and Israel Isheunesu, a congregant at CCIC appeared before Harare Magistrate Hosea Mujaya after they were summoned by the State to stand trial.

CCIC which is being legally represented by Alec Muchadehama, Norton town Council and Isheunesu being represented by Solomon Chako gave notice of their intention to apply for exception to the charges.

The court heard that the defense counsels will file their applications on May 13, the State will respond on May 23 and the court will make its ruling on May 27 which is the next remand date.

Allegations are that on an unknown date in 2014, CCIC bought a stand and started developing it in Ngoni Township Norton constructing a double storey church. The Norton town Council was negligent in that it issued CCIC with the land knowing that there was an 11kv overhead electric line directly above the stand.

The Norton town Council approved the building plan for the double storey structure without checking pertinent existing infrastructure. They failed to inspect the construction of the building, exposing the public and or workers carrying out the construction of the church building to electrocution by the electric power line.

CCIC being the owner of the building is also responsible for its construction was negligent in that it embarked on and continued with the construction of the church without relocating the overhead electric line. The church continued with its construction despite several warnings from the ZETDC to stop construction workers pending relocation of the electric line, the court heard.

The church regardless of all the warnings failed to put measures in place to stop individuals from giving up the first floor where there was poor clearance with the live conductors. Isheunesu who is a church member and also a civil engineer by profession was in charge of the construction work and inspection at the site. It is stated that he allowed the construction work to be done under the circumstances and also failed to supervise the construction activities which resulted in Lovejoy Mwandiambira being electrocuted.

As the construction work continued on site, the stair began encroaching to the way leaves and the live conductors and no barricade signs were put to stop individuals from going up to the first floor where there was poor clearance and a danger to lives. On December 4, 2014 and in the morning, Mwandiambira was part of the group applying water to a concrete form on the building.

His neck came in contact with the power line before he was electrocuted and died on the spot.