Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
TWO disgruntled pastors with the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) Church in Zimbabwe have approached the High Court in Harare seeking nullification of the National Workers Council meeting that amended the church’s constitution.
On September 15 this year, the church’s National Workers Council chaired by Pastor Aspher Madziyire adopted the draft amendment of the constitution getting the nod from the High Court in Harare.
Pastors Amon Chinyemba and Arthur Nhamburo, through their lawyer Advocate Joshua Chirambwi of Lawman Chimuriwo Attorneys, filed an application at the High Court in Masvingo last week seeking an order declaring the meeting unlawful and void.
They argued that the leadership erred by violating the High Court order that allowed them to convene the meeting.
It is also argued that the church’s constitution was also violated in the process of adopting the draft amendment.
The two men of the cloth also want the High Court to order the church leadership to reconvene the meeting and follow the proper laid-down procedure.
AFM, its president Pastor Madziyire, Pastors Cossam Chiyangwa, Amon Madawo and Munyaradzi Shumba were listed as respondents.
In the papers filed at the High court, the duo argued that the meeting did not conform to the constitution of the church and the High Court order by Justice David Mangota.
Clause 3 of the High Court order, according to the pair, states that non-members of the Workers Council must not attend or participate in the meeting, but it was breached in the process.
“Non-members of the Workers Council attended the meeting, contrary to what the court order provided for and what the constitution of the first respondent provides for,” reads the court papers.
Clause 12.1 of the constitution, the pair argued, stipulates that members of the Apostolic Council and those of the board of elders qualify to be National Workers Council members, but retired elders, elders with pending disciplinary issues and elders voted out attended the meeting.
“While the provision in the constitution stipulates that the board of elders is also part of the National Workers Council, rogue elements, who were not part of the board of elders, were bussed to the meeting despite the existence of Clause 3 of the High Court order barring non-members from attending,” the papers read.
No voting took place at the meeting in violation of the church’s constitution, the pair argued.
They also argued that the votes were never counted as required by the constitution and that the decision to adopt the draft constitution was imposed on those who attended.
“Second to fourth respondents, through second respondent (Pastor Madziyire), went on to declare that the amendments had been adopted upon the mere lifting of hands and no counting was done to verify the majority,” read the papers.
The actions of Pastor Madziyire and his lieutenants, it is argued, left the church on the verge of a major split.
“It is worrying the church is nearing a major split because the respondents have gone on to act on the unlawful resolution of 15 September 2018, which resolution was never voted for and was adopted without deliberation,” the documents read.
The church and the top leadership are yet to respond to the court application.