Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
AFM president Aspher Madziyire and his team of 32 overseers will continue running the affairs of the church after the High Court dismissed an urgent interdict application by a disgruntled pastor to bar them from operating. Pastor Kefias Mujokeri, who is stationed at AFM’s Shalom Revival Centre in Kadoma, wanted the church’s president and his executive to step down and call for an election to select the new leadership.
He argued that the executive had overstayed because their three-year tenure had since expired. However, Justice Amy Tsanga ruled that the application lacked urgency before ordering its removal from the urgent court roll. This means, Pastor Mudzokeri can still pursue his case through a normal court application.
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 was argued that the leadership had gone for more than a month illegally running the church without holding elections.
Harare lawyer Mr Joshua Chirambwe of Lawman Chimuriwo Law Chambers filed the urgent chamber application on behalf of Pastor Mudzokeri.
The application sought to compel Pastor Madziyire to urgently proclaim the election date for the provincial and apostolic council.
Pastor Mujokeri stated in his papers 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 this year, Pastor Mujokeri argued, the leadership led by Pastor Madziyire had been operating illegally.
Pastor Mujokeri said the leadership, that he refers to as “past” leadership, was operating in violation of the church’s constitution.
The said past leadership is also being accused of threatening those pushing for an election with disciplinary action.
It was argued that the AFM was operating without legitimate leadership and that the election was 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 hamstrung in its operations. All offices of signatories to accounts and other administrative functions have expired,” he said.