The losing Apostolic Faith Mission faction led by Reverend Cossam Chiangwa is yet to decide on a course of action to take after losing control of the church.
The Supreme Court last week upheld a previous High Court decision that gave control of the church to a group led by Bishop Amon Dubie Madawo.
Reverend Cossum Chiangwa
A three-judge appeal bench comprising Justices Susan Mavangira, Lavender Makoni and Samuel Kudya dismissed the appeal by Bishop Chiangwa, Amon Chinyemba, Nathan Nhira, Shepherd Sebata, Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe, Donald Mdoni, Arthur Nhamburo and M Mashumba.
It was ruled that Chiangwa’s faction did not have the legal standing to launch their application in the High Court seeking recognition of their leadership.
Rev Kefias Mujokeri
This because their claim to office was based on their initial meeting of 22 September 2018, which was void from the very start and of no force or effect.
On the other hand, the Bishop Madawo faction did, as the elected office bears of the church, have the legal standing to make their application to have the 2018 meeting nullified.
In an interview with H-Metro yesterday, Pastor Reverend Mujokeri –speaking on behalf of Chiangwa -was quick to dismiss rumours circulating on social media about the position they were taking.
He said, following the Supreme Court ruling handed against them, they needed time to heal before looking for an alternative route to take.
“We were given a nasty blow that needed the wisdom of God to stand up and seek a way forward,” said Rev Mujokeri.
“Unoziva kuti ukanyatsorohwa chibhakera chakasimba unofanira kuzvipa nguva yakanaka yekuona pekufamba napo.
“There is no position taken yet and we will call for a press conference probably this Friday afternoon.
“The word of God teaches everyone to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.
“There is need for us to seek legal advice as well and inform our members of the correct position to be taken,” said Rev Mujokeri.
Meanwhile, in a post judgment address last Friday Madawo said the Chiangwa faction had been doing illegal things since 2019.
Madawo said, under his leadership, the AFM would follow due processes in implementing the orders of the court and recovering control of the church’s assets.
“The court dismissed the appeal by Chiangwa and others concerning their claim that they are legitimate leaders of the AFM in Zimbabwe. What that means is that all what they were doing since 22nd of September 2019 was illegal.
“Going forward, legitimate leadership of the church will follow due process in implementing the orders of the court including running the places of worship and recovering control of the church’s assets,” he said.
Bishop Madawo urged the church members to remain calm and not take the law into their own hands while pastors who lost office were not pushed out of the church, as they had not been excommunicated.
“We are saying even pastors who had gone to the other side, if they want to come back we are willing to accept them but there are going to be due process to be followed,” he said.
Speaking on the same day, Chiangwa faction’s secretary general, Reverend Nathan Nhira said they will not tire in fighting for their place in the church.
Nhira insisted they will continue using the name of the church, logo and encouraged members using or occupying church premises to stay put.
“On behalf of the president, Rev. C. Chiangwa, the deputy president, Rev. A. Chinyemba, and the entire Apostolic Council, whose mandate is to direct the affairs of the church in between Workers Councils, the much awaited Supreme Court judgment has finally been pronounced, he said.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce that our prayer to the Supreme Court has not been granted, instead, our brothers’ prayer has been granted. Our meeting of the 22nd September, 2020, and its successive actions have been nullified.
“We acknowledge the judgment in its entirety, and are obviously consulting our lawyers on the appropriate action from now henceforth.
“As we await the court order, it is important to state that, according to our brothers’ prayer to the court, it is just the nullification of the meeting of the 22nd September 2018 meeting which has been achieved, their prayer did not address the issues of assets and properties, and no it did not.”
Nhira felt there were mitigatory factors to be considered on assets and properties, and everyone occupying church buildings and all those with church properties and assets should not be intimidated into surrendering anything immediately without due legal process .
“We will only act on legitimate dislodgment orders, which can be only be served by the Messenger of Court or Deputy Sherriff, with the appropriate notices,” he said.
But he said those in church buildings and mission houses should urgently start looking for alternative places of worship and accommodation.
“We are re-constituting ourselves. We still part of AFM International and hence we can still use the logo again until AFM International excludes us from its affiliate membership, then we will design an appropriate logo and move on to establish our own International forum,” said Rev Nhira.
On Sunday, APOSTOLIC Faith Mission in Zimbabwe faction pastor under Reverend Cossam Chiangwa was on Sunday arrested over violating High Court that barred them from entering AFM premises.
Highfield pastor Elias Mavhunga defied the court ruling by entering the church building where he was reported to have addressed congregants leading to his arrest.
He was released after statements were recorded from him at Machipisa police station.
One of the church members told H-Metro that they were left without a shepherd and failed to praise and worship worried about the arrest of Rev Muvhunga.
“We had gathered for church service when police officers entered the building and arrested Rev Mavhunga who was ministering,” said one of the church members.
“We were left like sheep without a shepherd and failed to give our supplications to God and began to intercede for the releasing of our leader,” said the member.
Contacted for comment, Rev Mavhunga urged people not to worry about the incident.
“Zvirikuitika zvakawanda asi iwe do not worry about the arrest,” said Rev Mavhunga refusing to answer further questions. H-Metro