Disgruntled members sue AFM executive

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
AFM in Zimbabwe president Reverend Ashper Madziyire and his executive have been taken to the High Court by several pastors, deacons and elders challenging his re-election as leader of the Pentecostal church as leadership wrangles rattle the institution.The pastors have alleged intimidation and victimisation of those against Pastor Madziyire’s leadership as they alleged that he violated the church’s constitution in his bid to remain in office.

Pastor Christopher Choto, who is leading the litigation, addressed a Press conference yesterday together with their lawyer, Mr Zivanai Macharaga of Mugiya and Macharaga law chambers.

Some of the disgruntled pastors who formed part of the litigation were Tigere Steward, Munyengeterwa Partson, Nyakudya Muvirimi, Paymore Murefu, Chrispen Muchangwe, Cardwell Mhaka and S Madzinga.

Others are elders and deacons.

Contacted for comment, AFM secretary-general Reverend Amon Madawo, dismissed the allegations saying they were made by people who lost an election.

“To start with we have not yet seen the court papers, but we have heard rumours about them. The people who are complaining have been elected for the past 12 years by the same system they are now challenging. With Pastor Choto he is not a member of AFM. He and other Pastors were disciplined for divorcing their wives,” said Rev Madawo.

In his address to journalists, Pastor Choto said Rev Madziyire was using intimidation tactics of pastors and victimisation.

“We have been so patient for too long on Rev Madziyire who has caused a lot of division. We are talking of politics that is too high and deep. We have tried all channels and we believe this is the only way that can help the church back to its course,” said Pastor Choto.

According to papers filed in the High Court, the pastors submitted that Rev Madziyire was elected outside the workers council of the church, which was supposed to meet to constitute an electoral college that would vote for the president.

“Rev Madziyire gathered largely his protégés on the 31st of January 2015 without calling for the workers council as per the constitution and claimed that those protégés who voted on that day had given him mandate to be president of the church for the next three years from January 2015,” read the court papers.

It was submitted that Rev Madziyire and his executive created delegates who were not supposed to vote for the presidential election and also added three new provinces. Additional provinces created were Manicaland East, Murehwa and Mashonaland Central.

“The above provinces were created just before the presidential election of the church to influence the election results in favour of the Rev Madziyire who was the incumbent president when the provinces were created,” read the court papers.

The disgruntled pastors said the Rev Madziyire executive issued new qualifications for presidential and provincial election candidates which were not part of the constitution.

Some of them had the effect of disqualifying assemblies that were in arrears of remittances to head office.