By Nyore Madzianike
The battle for the control of the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe is not yet over after the group led by Reverend Cossam Chiangwa filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court, challenging last week’s High Court decision.
The High Court ruled that Bishop Aspher Madziyire, who leads the other group, was the rightful head of the church.
High Court judge Justice David Mangota also bestowed Bishop Madziyire’s camp with the authority to use and control the church’s assets.
Justice Mangota instructed Rev Chiangwa and his followers to seek permission from Bishop Madziyire in the event they wanted to use the church’s property.
But Rev Chiangwa and his followers — Amon Chinyemba, Nathan Nhira, Shepherd Sebata, Donald Ndoni, Arthur Nhamburo and M. Mashumba — have filed a notice of appeal against the High Court decision.
In the notice of appeal, Rev Chiangwa and his followers want Bishop Madziyire and his group to return all the AFM assets in their possession.
They also want the Bishop Madziyire camp to stop using the church’s name when conducting their business.
Rev Chiangwa’s group argued that the High Court erred by failing to find that the adoption of a new church constitution by Bishop Madziyire and his followers on September 15, 2018, was unprocedural. They argued that it was not in accordance with provisions of the AFM’s constitution.
Bishop Madziyire was cited as a respondent along with Munyaradzi Shumba, Tawanda Nyambirai, Clever Mupakaidzwa, Briton Tembo and Christopher Chemhuru.
Rev Chiangwa and his followers contend that the High Court erred in failing to find that Bishop Madziyire and his followers had “seceded from the church” after unprocedurally adopting a new constitution for the church.
“The High Court further erred in finding that the appellants had no locus standi (right) to institute the proceedings in case number HC179/19 and having so found in going ahead to determine the merits of that application,” said Rev Chiangwa and his team in their notice of appeal.
“The High Court grossly erred in finding that the new constitution adopted by the second and the eighth respondents was not renunciation of the AFM constitution when the said constitution was not placed before the court by the respondents who had no onus to place it before the court.” The Herald