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Mwazha church grabbers in court for contempt

by Staff reporter
05 Nov 2021 at 06:49hrs | Views
THE African Apostolic Church (Vapostori veAfrica) led by archbishop Paul Mwazha has dragged its members to the High Court, accusing them of illegally taking over leadership of the church in defiance of a Supreme Court order that nullified the appointment of Alfred Mwazha as the new leader.

Last month, the Supreme Court upheld part of a High Court ruling on the succession dispute, where Alfred is trying to succeed his 103-year-old father, Paul, who is founder of the sect, saying his takeover was unconstitutional.

In a High Court application yesterday, Ernest Mhambare, a reverend with the sect, was cited as the first applicant, where he accused nine other respondents of being in contempt of court.

Mhambare accused Alfred of usurping the archbishop's powers by calling for unsanctioned gatherings.

Mwazha's three sons, Alfred, Ngoni and James, together with other church elders, Richard Juru, Elson Tafa, Charles Tekeshe, Lovemore Mharadze, Norman Siyamuzhombwe, Gwatirera Jabangwe and Simbanechako Tsveta have been  cited as respondents.

"This is an application for contempt of court, in particular the Supreme Court order delivered on October 14, 2021. This application for civil contempt is based on the fact that the actions and conduct of the respondents are both wilful and malafide in their refusal or failure to comply with the aforesaid orders of the Supreme Court and this honourable court," the papers read in part.

Mhambare said the church remained under the leadership of Mwazha, adding that the respondents were trying to grab the apostolic sect founded in 1959 using unconstitutional means in a bid to impose Alfred as the leader.

"Upon being notified of the Supreme Court judgment, the respondents have gone ahead to proclaim the first respondent as the head of the church using the expedience of clause 9.2.2 of the church's constitution arguing that on October 16, 2021, he was appointed leader after a meeting of the priesthood council. They have continued to usurp the powers of the archbishop Paul Mwazha and called the Press to announce that they were now in charge of the church contrary to the terms and conditions of the Supreme Court judgment."

Mhambare said they were re-structuring the church contrary to the Supreme Court judgment and calling for meetings without the consent of the church leader.

"One of the meetings was called and advertised as Holy Communion service at Ndarikure shrine in the Midlands," he said.

Mhambare said despite an order granted by the court on October 29, the respondents on the sane day wrote a circular to church members advising them that nothing had changed and the gathering was going on as earlier communicated.

Last month, Supreme Court judges Justices George Chiweshe, Susan Mavangira and Tendai Uchena ordered that the decision of High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi nullifying Alfred's claim to be the successor of his father stood, and described the move to usurp his powers as unconstitutional.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe