The row between feuding Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) groups has escalated with congregants at the church’s branch in Avondale, Harare, reportedly threatening to lock out their pastor who stays there.
The group is also threatening to disrupt church services.
Some of the AFM members are said to have locked out Pastor Vitalis Panganai Makarichi from the church premises at No. 38 Aberdeen Road, Avondale.
A group believed to be led by John Gotora stormed the church premises on September 8 and demanded that Pastor Makarichi vacate the premises, claiming they were the rightful persons to conduct business at the church.
They are said to have also disrupted a church service that was being conducted on the day in question and threatened to lock all the premises “until further notice’’, saying no church business should be conducted at the place.
Irked by the group’s actions, Pastor Makarichi made an urgent chamber application at the High Court, seeking a spoliation order against Gotora and his followers.
Pastor Makarichi cited Gotora, Flex Nyabadza, Oliver Mutasa, Rangarirai Machemedze and Levi Hoja as respondents in the matter.
In his application, Pastor Makarichi claimed he has been presiding over church services and other related programmes at the church since 2006.
“The respondents were once congregant members of the church that I pastor. Due to differences, factions developed in the church and the respondents joined a faction which decided to move out of the premises and conduct church business from a different location.
“The respondents moved out of the church premises and started attending church at one of the recreational parks in Avondale. In the meantime, there was a pending litigation between leaders of the two factions. The judgment was handed down in favour of the leaders of the faction whom the respondents belong to.
“As a result of the said judgment and the letter from the respondents’ leadership dated September 6, 2019, the respondents invaded the church premises on the 8th of September 2019 and alleged that they were the legitimate owners of the premises and had the right to use the same to the exclusion of the applicant and his congregants,” he said.
Pastor Makarichi said only a court order will remove him from the church premises or stop him from conducting church business.
His application added that on September 8, Gotora and other congregants stormed the church and ordered him to suspend church services.
“The directive was given by law enforcement agents and as a law-abiding citizen I was compelled to act accordingly, though I was not entirely in agreement as to its correctness,” he claimed.
In a related matter, a group led by Bishop Aspher Madziyire has also filed an urgent application for leave to execute the judgment made by judge Justice David Mangota that nullified the resolutions of last year’s council meeting.
This was after another group led by Rev Cossam Chiangwa filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court, against the High Court judgment.
The AFM church was cited as the first applicant while Amon Dubie Madawo, Clever Mupakaidzwa, Briton Tembo, Christopher Chemhuru, Aspher Madziyire, Tawanda Nyambirai and Munyaradzi Shumba were the other applicants.
Chiangwa, Amon Chinyemba, Nathan Nhira, Donald Ndoni, Arthur Nhamburo, M. Shumba and Shepherd Sebata were cited as respondents. The Herald