By Brian Chitemba
Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe president Dr Aspher Madziyire has been temporarily saved from elections to choose his successor after the church’s international leader, Professor Frank Chikane, intervened last week.
Prof Chikane, who is based in South Africa, visited Zimbabwe following reports that the church was on the verge of a split.
He met the AFM Zimbabwe leadership at Living Waters Theological College in Tynwald, Harare on Wednesday and Thursday to find a solution to the long-running battle for control of the mega church.
AFM general secretary Pastor Amon Madawo would neither confirm nor deny the Prof Chikane meeting as he said he “was busy”. He promised an interview but thereafter his phone was not reachable.
Dr Madziyire’s mobile numbers were also not available.
However, The Sunday Mail Religion gathered that Prof Chikane held marathon meetings to build bridges between two warring camps pitting Dr Madziyire and his deputy Reverend Cossum Chiangwa.
Dr Madziyire’s camp postponed elections which were supposed to be held in January while a group of pastors who recently petitioned Rev Chiangwa demanded the polls.
The AFM Zimbabwe leader is pushing constitutional reforms that could give him room to extend his 15-year presidency and allow his favoured successor to assume the helm after him.
After the Prof Chikane meeting, it was resolved that elections will be shelved until the church constitutional reform process was complete.
In a joint letter signed by Pastor Madawo and Dr Madziyire dated March 22, 2018, the Apostolic Council meeting, attended by Prof Chikane, resolved that the reform process proceeds.
“Following the meeting of Apostolic Council held on March 22, 2018, the following resolutions were made; 1. The April 14, 2018 workers council was cancelled. 2. The constitution reforms process (is) to resume.
“3. Provincial chairpersons to work hand in hand with the constitution reforms committee to ensure that the process goes on smoothly in their respective provinces.”
The Sunday Mail Religion understands that some of the reforms include a new grading system for all pastors, which will see preachers earning the same salary.
Presently, pastors of churches in affluent communities earn more than those in less wealthy areas.
The proposed reforms will also strip pastors of powers to run the day-to-day activities of the church, with elders and deacons assuming more responsibilities. Pastors will focus on spreading the Gospel.
Dr Madziyire is publicly calling for constitutional reforms although he is not embracing all the proposed changes.
In a recent leaked audio, the AFM president exposes his plan to plant his henchmen — overseers and pastors — to push for certain constitutional amendments while rejecting others proposed by the constitutional reform committee, chaired by lawyer Mr Tawanda Nyambirai.
Dr Madziyire was recorded saying, “It’s too late to reject the draft constitution because I have been supporting it. What we can do is that we reject some part of it which will harm us. And we are in a war, we shouldn’t sell out because that’s how we will lose the plot.
“We are dealing with clever people but I now have the draft constitution and I will highlight areas which are problematic and email the document to overseers who will then reject the items we don’t agree to. We need to put our differences aside and fight this animal which plans to destroy me. I will feed you information to say in public because I can’t be seen fighting. Every pastor and overseer countrywide must be on our side.” The Sunday Mail