Fungai Lupande Senior Court Reporter
High Court Judge Edith Mushore has urged Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe factions to co-exist, pending the Supreme Court ruling, after the group led by Reverend Cossam Chiangwa filed a notice of appeal against a recent High Court order.
Rev Chiangwa and his faction gave notice to challenge a recent High Court ruling which said Rev Amon Dubie Madawo’s faction, which appears to have the blessing of former president Dr Aspher Madziyire, was the rightful head of the church.
The High Court’s latest intervention comes after an urgent chamber application for leave to execute judgment pending appeal, which was filed on Monday by Rev Madawo’s faction.
Although the appeal is pending, the Madawo camp led by their lawyers from Mtetwa and Nyambirai, made the urgent chamber application for the rival camp to stop receiving any funds for the church, using church property, assets and name.
They also wanted the Chiangwa faction to stop using the church’s social media platforms.
Justice Mushore directed both parties to craft a consent order to be presented before her on Friday.
Lawyer Mr Tawanda Machaka of G. S. Kashangura Law Chambers said after hearing the arguments, Justice Mushore ruled that parties must co-exist pending the Supreme Court ruling.
“Furthermore, the judge asked parties to craft a consent order which shall regulate the conduct of parties before deposition of the appeal at the Supreme Court,” he said.
Rev Madawo’s faction had wanted the High Court to order Rev Chiangwa’s group to stop using the church’s Rufaro Conference Centre in Masvingo and facilities, other church premises whether owned or rented, and residential properties owned or rented by AFM whether in its own name or any other name.
They also wanted the Chiangwa faction not to “disrupt the functions, duties or activities of the applicants whether by themselves or through any third party acting in concert with them”.
Rev Madawo and company also prayed for an order directing the respondents and all those claiming title through them to return any movable assets and to surrender to Briton Tembo all use access codes or passwords to the church’s social media pages and groups, and “to surrender all bank accounts belonging to the church whether opened in the church’s name or in any other name. An order directing the respondents to account for all funds so far raised by the respondents using the church name”.
“In this application, we seek the following relief, a temporal interdict restraining the respondents from holding themselves as office bearers of the church, calling any meetings of the members of the church, appointing any person to any position in the church and calling any elections or conducting any elections in the church’s name,” read the application.