AFM leadership wrangle persists
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
POWER struggles in the Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Zimbabwe (AFM) continue amid calls by a section of the church to call for urgent elections to choose a new leadership.
The incumbent executive led by Pastor Aspher Madziyire, according to some members, has overstayed and elections should now be conducted in the spirit of democracy.
Pastor Madziyire, who is the president of the church, together with 32 overseers heading AFM’s provinces, were elected into office in March 2015 and their tenure has since expired.
However, it is argued, the leadership has so far gone for two months, illegally running the church without holding elections.
Pastor Kefias Mujokeri, who is stationed at AFM’s Shalom Revival Centre in Kadoma, has instructed his lawyer Mr Joshua Chirambwe of Lawman Chimuriwo Law Chambers to file an urgent chamber application seeking to compel Pastor Madziyire to urgently proclaim the election date for the provincial and apostolic council.
In the High Court application, Pastor Mujokeri contends that Pastor Madziyire was clinging on to power and he must be ordered to, forthwith, stop holding himself out as the church’s president pending the holding of the election.
Pastor Madziyire, according to the court papers, was firstly elected as president in March 2003 before being re-elected for a further three year-term in March 2015.
However, the church is reportedly divided over earlier attempts by some members to push for the amendment of the constitution, to accommodate some of the ageing outgoing leadership.
Pastor Mujokeri said attempts were made to amend the constitution to allow pastors to contest for the posts despite reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65. Since April 28 2018, Pastor Mujokeri argues, the leadership led by Pastor Madziyire had been operating illegally.
“The election year ended on the 28th of April 2018 and the third respondents’ terms of office in the provincial councils and apostolic council ended on the same date.
“From this date, the second and third respondents, together with the other overseers ceased to legally hold office as overseers within the first respondent (AFM),” reads Pastor Mujokeri’s founding affidavit.
Pastor Mujokeri said the leadership, that he refers to as “past” leadership, was operating in violation of the church’s constitution.
The said the past leadership is also being accused of threatening those pushing for an election.
“As a result of the constitutional vacuum, the first respondent and its members, including me, have been left without recourse because the immediate past president and his deputy are publicly haggling over who has the power to call for an election.
“They have even gone to an extent of threatening the deputy president with disciplinary action because he had asked the second respondent (Pastor Madziyire) and secretary general to call the necessary meetings to finalise the election issues,” he said.
It is argued that the AFM is operating without legitimate leadership and that the election is required as a matter of urgency.
“As it stands, I, as a pastor and member of the first respondent, no longer have a legitimate leadership and we cannot continue to efficiently carry out our duties.
“I risk being exposed to legal suits for conducting my duties in the absence of a legitimate president who has the ultimate authority and mandate to conduct church business. The mandate to supervise, manage and represent the church is thrust upon the president and overseers, such that the church is now humstrung in its operations. All offices of signatories to accounts and other administrative functions have expired,” he said.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing at the High Court.