The drama and chaos around the troubled Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) In Zimbabwe church has taken a new twist after the founding president of the church sued the current president.
Dr Enos Manyika who led the registration of the church as its founding president has sued current president Reverend Amon Dubie Madawo and his leadership seeking to have them barred from using the name AFM In Zimbabwe.
In his court papers, Dr Manyika said Reverend Madawo’s faction should not use the church name because they had caused the creation of a parallel constitution.
“I am a representative of the church and also its founding president who caused the registration of the AFM in 2001. It has come to my understanding and knowledge that the respondents are using the registered name of the church and causing the creation of a parallel constitution, which is separate and alien to the one registered and filed with the Registrar of Companies.”
The founding president is seeking to have the Reverend Madawo faction barred from using the church’s name and symbols.
“The process of registration is done to protect a registered entity from having its name used unlawfully as in this case and preserving one’s name, status and identity.
It is on this basis that I seek an order directing the respondents to stop using the church’s name to further their agenda.
“They have various other names available to them, and not the AFM in Zimbabwe name.”
Dr Manyika’s lawsuit comes weeks after Reverend Madawo and his leadership emerged victorious at the Supreme Court following a protracted legal fight for the control of the church which started in 2018.
The litigation started when past President of the AFM in Zimbabwe church Reverend Aspher Madziyire and his deputy Reverend Cossam Chiangwa fell out over proposed amendments to the church constitution.
Reverend Chiangwa led a national workers’ council which passed a vote of no confidence against Madziyire and his administration in September 2018 and elected new leadership.
However, Madziyire dismissed the meeting which passed the vote of no confidence and approached the High Court to nullify the outcome of the gathering arguing that it was against the church’s constitution.
With each side declaring themselves to be the true leadership of the church, the High Court ruled against Reverend Cossam Chiangwa’s group and declared Madziyire the bonafide leader.
However, Reverend Chiangwa and his faction were not happy with this ruling and appealed the decision at the Supreme Court.
The appeal was heard by Supreme Court judges, Justice Susan Mavangira, Justice Lavender Makoni and Justice Samuel Kudya who dismissed the appeal by the Reverend Chiangwa faction.
The Supreme Court ruling also confirmed Reverend Amon Madawo who took over from Reverend Aspher Madziyire as the bonafide leader of the AFM In Zimbabwe church.
Following their defeat at the Supreme Court, Reverend Chiangwa and his faction launched their own splinter church which they called the AFM OF Zimbabwe to differentiate it from the existing AFM IN Zimbabwe.
Dr Manyika also said that he was not involved in the dispute between Reverend Chiangwa and Reverend Madawo.
“I and the church were not party to the dispute between Cossam Chiangwa and the respondents in this application. The constitutions used by Reverends Madawo, Mupakaidza, Tembo and Chemhuru are different from the one that was registered by the AFM in Zimbabwe.
“There is no nexus between the unregistered AFM church and the applicant. This is evident when one looks at the constitutions of the AFM in Zimbabwe and the respondents.
The founding president also claimed that the Supreme Court ruling had caused panic and despondency among AFM church members.
“It has created doubt over which institution is the properly registered one. As a result, I submit that the requirements of a temporary interdict against the respondents against the use of the registered name of the AFM in Zimbabwe pending finalisation of case number HC 453/20.”
Reverend Amon Madawo and the AFM In Zimbabwe are yet to comment on the issue.