Fierce leadership row rocks AFM

By Phyllis Mbanje

HARARE – A fierce leadership wrangle has rocked the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe, raising fears the Pentecostal church could be heading for a split after some pastors and elders dragged their administrators to court challenging the way they conducted the church’s presidential and overseers’ elections last month.

Reverend Aspher Madziyire and wife Josphine
Reverend Aspher Madziyire and wife Josphine

According to court documents, some pastors, deacons and overseers from the church’s 20 provinces approached the court seeking nullification of Reverend Aspher Madziyire’s election as president.

“The above provinces were created just before the presidential election of the church to influence the election results in favour of the first defendant (Madziyire) who was the incumbent president when the provinces were created,” the pastors and deacons said in their court summons.

The litigants also claimed that Madziyire was elected without the consent of the church’s workers’ council which was supposed to form an electoral college to vote for the president.

“First defendant (Madziyire) gathered largely his protégés on the 31st of January 2015 without calling for the workers’ council as per the (AFM) constitution and claimed that those protégés who voted on that day had given him the mandate to be president of the church for the next three years from January 2015,” they averred.

The pastors also alleged the leaders involved “created” delegates who were not supposed to vote.

Madziyire is alleged to have achieved this by creating three provinces: Manicaland East, Murewa and Mashonaland Central.

“The provinces were created to influence the election results in favour of Madziyire.”

The disgruntled clergymen also sought to nullify provincial elections of overseers at the Tynwald AFM Church, saying they were not held in accordance with the AFM constitution.

Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, secretary of the church’s national leadership forum, Bishop Christopher Choto, said the bone of contention was the presidential elections which he said were held unconstitutionally.

“We are the concerned members of the church. We have come together because of the issues that are affecting the congregants and operations of the church,” Choto said.

He disputed allegations that it was a case of sour grapes for the pastors who lost in the elections.

“The issues that drove us to approach the courts are concerns of the congregants who were unhappy about the election process. There is now a lot of victimisation and intimidation of pastors. This has caused many divisions.”

The disgruntled clergymen, who are being represented by Harare lawyer Zivanai Macharaga, gave Madziyire and the church’s top leadership 10 days to file their opposing papers.

Efforts to contact Madziyire for comment last night were fruitless as he was reportedly in a church service. NewsDay

  • God of War

    Is this still church business?

  • mahumbwe

    If we are supposed to judge angels what are we doing on the courts presided probably by an unbeliever or drunkard

  • mahumbwe

    God is not subject to voting. Calling chii nhai

  • sd

    Last I knew was that AFM had no level called Bishop. Where is this Bishop Choto from? He cannot be a Bishop at his church and directing AFM affairs at the same time.

    Something is wrong here.

    • Guest

      We cant even run church elections which are supposed to be a holy affair. What’s wrong with us as a people? When is this greed going to end? What is at stake here? Money and benefits obviously? Surely the likes of Pastor Chiweshe are turning in their graves at this circus.

  • paparay

    AFM has NO Bishop where is this Bishop coming from? Is he from another church?

  • Mutumwapavi

    Ko Mweya Mutsvene wadii kutaura kana paine chakaitwa chakaipa. Majudge ndiwo akutonga maaffairs emuchurch manje? Tsvina dzapinda muchurch manje. Namata kan uri mutsvene handiti ndimi munoti mwari vanogadza nekubvisa.

    • Tha Truth

      its because they have rejected the holy spirit, these position should not be done by election it should be God chosen

      • Mrs Mukanya

        You know that’s a very grey area, that is. How is it God chosen? How does one know that this is God chosen?

        • Tha Truth

          Christianity is not a democracy, God is the elector thats why a lot of churches do not have power because they let people who have called themselves into ministry. God will not support anything he hasn’t started.

  • Musethegwa Magwabeni

    clearly Zimbabwe has one election handbook authored by Robert Mugabe

  • prodigy712

    A good man once said, “When there is no financial or material gain to be made. Where serving God means sacrificing your own resources, very few current church leaders will still be called Man/Woman of God.”

    • onlooker

      i salute your truth ,satan is in control of all church affairs in form of money ,and positions.If all of them are serving one God there must be in harmony with one another

  • tambudzayi

    Mambobvunza mwari here kuti vari kuti kudii why don’t spend your time meditating upon the Word of God rather than going to the press and courts to solve church business.Bishop izvi zvinoda fasting and praying kwete kuswerotipedzera nguva yedu zvaratidza kuti you are power hungry regai mwari vataure mavakuzotibhowa manje. Kwenyu kuda publicsit here.

  • clicli

    thiz r power hungry ppl tryn discredit a properly run system usin court proceedings. f they ent power hungry y r thy concerned abt the presidential post. i hev nevr hed of a bishop in afm and wo s ths guy. s h done solvin his chch issues that h nw want help afm dil wit its issues. thiz chip politics i was at the yuth conferenc past wkend at rufaro mission and ther s no indication that w hedin 4 a split or ther r leadership squables

  • Ira Uat

    Zviri kumachurch akawanda izvi hama. Sad but true. Mweya Mutsvene vatibatsire kuziva muridzi wekereke uye nekunongedzwa kwevatungamiri kwete vote nedzevamwe vasina kutendeuka futi.

  • AFM member

    Where did this guy got his bishop title? not in AFM they is no Bishop so he is a fake member trying to destroy the good leadership and Image of AFM. Ngwarira hama mabasa ose achayedzwa nemoto, uchazvidairira kana Ishe vokubvunza. Revelations 22 verse 12

  • Good Samaritan

    Mwari pindirai chokwadi, kereke yenyu zvoyoparara. Running with church issues to the world to seek a solution. Its supposed to be the world running with their issues to seek justice in the house of God. I once said it that you need a calling from God to run these affairs. Its not about going to a Theology school, its about calling. Many are now taking it as a career that’s why they pay a lot fees at these Bible Colleges, they obviously expect a return from their investment. No one will burn the candle the whole night studying for no return. Church leaders are anointed by God.

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