By Daniel Nemukuyu
The Pastor Amon Madawo-led Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM) has admitted to bungling in the rushed amendment of the church’s constitution and has resolved to reverse all the changes and to comply with AFM International’s constitution in the spirit of uniting the local church.
The unlawful amendment of the constitution resulted in the split of the church into two rival groups — one led by Pastor Madawo and another by Pastor Cossam Chiangwa.
AFM Zimbabwe’s actions breached the constitution of the mother church, the AFM International, a development that prompted the quick intervention of the international church.
The local church is said to have amended the church’s original “Confession of Faith” and made changes to the constitution without consulting AFM International.
The development poured cold water on the Madawo-led group’s recent court victory that nullified the appointment of Pastor Chiangwa as the church’s president.
The High Court also nullified the parallel appointment of overseers by the Chiangwa group but it did not rule on the issue of property ownership.
All the church members, according to the judgment, still have the right to access church property.
The court also nullified the appointment of parallel overseers by the Chiangwa group.
Media reports wrongly insinuating some members of the church had been barred from accessing church property had circulated following the recent court judgment.
The constitutional amendments effected by the Madawo-led group, according to the international church, were found to be out of in sync with the church’s “Confession of Faith”.
Pastor Madawo and company just amended the constitution and kept it to themselves without consulting AFM International, in breach of the church’s constitution.
The group that initially resisted AFM International’s call to reverse the flawed constitutional amendments, later made a U-turn and admitted to bungling.
AFM in Zimbabwe on August 1 this year undertook to reverse its amendments.
If the church does not honour its undertaking, it risks being expelled from the international church. AFM in Zimbabwe said it was operating without the guidance of the AFM International constitution.
Pastor Tembo said the local church had never had sight of the mother church’s constitution, hence the said constitutional breaches.
“On the Confession of Faith, all along, we did not have a copy of the AFM International constitution. We received it on the 28th of March 2019.
“We had not seen the AFM International Confession of Faith . . .
“However, we are willing to reverse whatever we did and take the AFM International Confession of Faith word for word,” said Pastor Tembo.
AFM International secretary-general Pastor MG Mahlobo on July 15 had written to the local church pointing out the constitutional breaches saying the local congregation was damaging the reputation of the international church.
“The AFM International office-bearers have also noted that you have adopted a new constitution with a Confession of Faith which is different from that of the AFM International.
“You action is tantamount to legally defining yourself outside the AFM International parameters.
“We put it to you that you are in breach of the above constitutional requirements.
“Even at this late hour, it is our prayer, that God will enable you to see the consequences of your actions and the potential reputational damage they are causing to the integrity and the witness of the AFM International,” reads the letter dated July 15 2019.
Clause 2 of the AFM International constitution reads:
The basis for membership of the AFM International shall be:
2.1.1 Acceptance of and adherence to the common Confession of Faith of the Apostolic FGaith Mission International (Article 3 of this constitution)
2.1.2 Acceptance of the constitution of the AFM International
2.1.3 Submission of the constitution and any rules and regulations governing the said church. All member churches shall notify the AFM International of any constitutional changes by submitting a copy of their new constitution, indicating the relevant changes made.” The Herald