On Wednesday, the High Court declared the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) Church group led by Dr Aspher Madziyire as the bonafide leader of the church, laying to rest the ongoing wrangle over control of the Church and its assets that pitied Madziyire and Reverend Cossam Chiyangwa, the Herald reports.
Justice David Mangota ruled that the church and its assets belong to the Bishop Madziyire faction, which is now under the leadership of Reverend Amos Madawu. The judge also blocked the Rev Chiyangwa faction from using church premises and property without authorisation from Bishop Madziyire.
Said Justice Mangota:
“The respondents are hereby barred from accessing or using any assets or property of any kind belonging to the church.
The respondents and their followers or agents or assignees be and are hereby directed to relinquish to the church all and any property belonging to the church that is in possession or under control of the respondents.
Failure of the above, the Sheriff of Zimbabwe and his lawful deputy be and is hereby authorised to take all and any property and assets belonging to church from the control and possession of the respondent and hand over the same to the church.”
Rev Chiangwa, Amon Chinyemba, Nathan Nhira, Donald Ndoni, Arthur Nhamburo, one M. Mashumba and one S. Sebata were cited as respondents.
According to a September 2018 internal memorandum written by the then church’s general secretary Rev. Madawu, the church leaders were suspended for violating the church constitution. They were debarred in terms of SI of 2006, for “conduct inconsistent with the express or implied conditions of their employment”.
Bishop Madziyire and his then deputy Rev Chiyangwa went their separate ways with each of them commanding their followers in the church following last September’s church council meeting, which passed a vote of no confidence on the president of the church.
The dispute was mainly centred on Dr Madziyire’s firm hold to the office for 15 years while the Rev Chiyangwa group has been pushing for fresh elections to choose new leadership. The two camps disagree also on the election dates and the adoption of a new church constitution.
The draft constitution in question seeks to ban pastors from being involved in administrative and governance issues and also reduces the number of times an assembly can hold ‘‘appreciation days’’ for a resident pastor, among other amendments.
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