Expelled pastor, AFM lock horns

By Daniel Nemukuyu

A pastor who was recently expelled from the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM) has taken the Pentecostal church to the High Court accusing it of violating his rights.

High Court of Zimbabwe
High Court of Zimbabwe

Pastor Chrispen Mazhange of Shekinah Assembly in Marondera claims that his rights were trampled upon by the church and that he must be reinstated.

In a court application filed at the High Court on Friday last week, Pastor Mazhange seeks an order nullifying the proceedings that led to his expulsion, arguing that the hearing was more of a “kangaroo court”.

Harare lawyer Mr Joshua Chirambwe of Lawman Chimuriwo Attorneys is acting for the man of the cloth.

In his founding affidavit, Pastor Mazhange stated that he had been pastoring at Shekinah Assembly since 2009 without any problems until last year where an assortment of allegations were levelled against him.

“In 2016, a plethora of unfounded allegations were levelled against him by the church board at provincial level,” said Mr Chirambwe.

“These allegations led to a verbal invitation to attend a round table meeting chaired by the overseer for the province, Stanford Nyamande.”

Pastor Mazhange argued that he was not afforded a fair hearing.

“My plight is that I was not served with any allegations at provincial level and the hearing was characterised by verbal accusations and counter-accusations,” he said. “The provisions of the church constitution and regulations on hearings were not followed.”

“My side of the story was never considered as well and to my surprise, immediately after the hearing, I was advised that an erroneous letter had been transmitted to the national office indicating that no assembly in the province was ready to accept me as its pastor,” he said.

Pastor Mazhange argued that the facts of the letter were not correct.

He further argued that the church never served him with any determination after the “meeting-cum-disciplinary hearing”.

Pastor Mazhange contend that the he was not even aware of the actual charges he was facing when the hearing was conducted.

He said he was finally served with the allegations on February 14 this year, some two weeks after the “hearing”.

“I was left wondering why I was served with the allegations way after the hearing as I thought that matters of this nature had to follow proper procedure,” he said.

“I was also left wondering if these allegations had been drafted before or after the hearing. No decision was made although the provincial board went ahead to make public announcements that I was no longer a pastor at my assembly and barred me from conducting services.”

Pastor Mazhange also indicated in his papers that at one point he was forced to write a transfer letter.

Upon getting advice from fellow pastors and learning the consequences thereof, he wrote another letter rescinding the transfer request.

He claims that his rights to be heard, right to equal protection of the law, and right to fair labour practices were violated by the church.

AFM is yet to respond to the application. The Herald