Conflict is inevitable when two or more individuals come together. The problem is not that conflict arises. A problem occurs when conflict persists, becomes unhealthy and is unresolved.
Conflict is also common in the body of Christ, but must it be debilitating? Disagreements are to be expected, but must the way Christians settle their disputes-too often nasty-be our defining characteristic?
The recent events in the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFMZ) have seen one of the biggest churches in the country making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The church’s ongoing leadership wrangles pitting former President Aspher Madziyire and Reverend Cossam Chiangwa appear to be far from over after the latter petitioned the Supreme Court challenging the High Court ruling which barred him from taking over the leadership of the church.
Last week, High Court judge Justice David Mangota delivered a judgment in favour of Dr Madziyire who had petitioned the court seeking an order to bar Chiyangwa, Amon Chinyemba, Nathan Nhira and Shepherd Sebata from holding themselves out as office bearers of the AFMZ.
“Chiangwa is in my view, misconstruing the relevant clauses of the Constitution and the regulations of the Church when he states that Madziyire was illegally occupying the office of the president of the church after April 2018. The correct position of the matter is that he was not. He continued to remain in office up until November 2018 when he handed over power to the newly elected executive members of the Church,” Justice Mangota said.
Justice Mangota also gave Bishop Madziyire’s camp the authority to use and control the church’s assets and instructed Rev Chiyangwa and his followers to seek permission from Madziyire if they wanted to use the church’s property.
The High Court ruling is, however, being challenged by Rev Chiangwa as he now argues that Justice Mangota misdirected himself in the matter.
“The High Court erred in failing to find that the adoption of a new constitution by the second to the eighth respondents (Madziyire and others) and their followers on September 15, 2018, was unprocedural and not in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the fifth appellant,”
said Chiangwa in a notice of appeal filed at the Supreme Court and cited Madziyire along with Munyaradzi Shumba, Tawanda Nyambirai, Clever Mupakaidzwa, Briton Tembo and Christopher Chemhuru as respondents.
Chiangwa further said the High Court consequently erred in failing to find that Madziyire and his co-applicants and their followers seceded from the AFMZ as from September 15, 2018, and therefore had no locus standi to challenge the proceedings of the church after that date.
Among other things, Chiangwa and his followers also want Bishop Madziyire and his group to return all the AFM assets in their possession and to stop using the church’s name when conducting their business.
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