HOUSES belonging to four leaders of the Johane Masowe yeVadzidzi in Gomo village, Mashonaland Central, were razed down by suspected Zanu PF supporters who accused them of wielding too much political influence in the area.
The assailants allegedly belong to a popular apostolic church led by Aaron Mhukuta popularly known as Wimbo.
Villagers said last week, the houses belonging to Ishmael Magodi (Stebilon) Edson Mukohwa (Astron), Peter Tabviroona (Akinoji) and Maxwell Kapasura, all part of the church leadership were destroyed by the Zanu PF youths.
The youths accused the four of campaigning for one Zacks Pamacheche against Labour minister Nicholas Goche during party primary elections held last year before the July general elections.
A petition written by villagers, most of them known Zanu PF supporters shows that the four had become so powerful as to influence political decisions of their legion of followers hence the decision to evict them.
"While we have no problem with democratic dispensations of any political party, the approach taken by the four in campaigning for Zacks Pamacheche in the Zanu PF primaries was coercive, using their influence to demand support from some village members and unfounded accusations against those who seem to be against them," read the petition.
"They also abused the home of VaMudzidzi (Wimbo) by using it as a campaign base without the consent of the family, so we are informed. This polarisation, bred mistrust among members and introduced fear in the village. It is also worth to put on record that we, as Gomo village, are a pro-Zanu PF community seasoned enough to choose what we need without coercion."
The four were also accused of involvement in the alleged murder of a church member from Gwanda last year and abuse of minors among other myriad of accusations.
"Although some of us go to different churches, we have great respect for VaMudzidzi and the Masowe (church), that he leads. Therefore we cannot watch the legacy of this institution destroyed as it is important to our livelihoods," the petition further read.
The houses belonging to the four, built close to the shrine, were allegedly destroyed by the youths and Zanu PF leaders in the community who wanted the apostolic leaders evicted from the village.
According to the history given, the four came seeking divine help from Wimbo years back and rose through the ranks to powerful and influential positions in the church.
They were accommodated into the church and village after being allocated land.
"Since then, through infiltration into the ranks of the Johane Masowe yeVadzidzi church, they have assumed tremendous power and influence over both the village and the church which they are now abusing leading to perpetration of acts of disrespect, disorder and violence in the village and the Gomo family, a member of our village."
Wimbo and the four evicted villagers could not be reached for comment.