By Mary Taruvinga
COSSAM Chiangwa, the losing candidate in the long-running Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM) leadership wrangle, has challenged a lawsuit by the church’s leader, Amon Madawo.
Madawo is suing him over his continued use of the church’s trademark.
However, in response to the lawsuit, Chiangwa argues Madawo has no right to claim rights over the church name because he is not a founder of organisation.
He reminded Madawo that he was also being sued by the founding president of the church over the use of the AFM name.
Madawo had dragged Chiangwa to court complaining that he stole his church’s trademark in a bid to mislead congregants and divert church funds.
However, after losing the leadership battle recently at the Supreme Court, Chiangwa went on to form a splinter organisation which he christened AFM of Zimbabwe and using similar logos.
However, Chiangwa says he cannot be barred from using the same.
“The applicant (Madawo) is not the registered owner of the trademark registration 1584/2012 as he was not in existence at that time. Applicant cannot claim to be in any way associated with AFM as the two entities have two fundamental different constitutions,” he said.
Chiangwa also said Madawo has no locus standi to make an application for an interdict against him.
“The matter is not urgent at all. Applicant conceded from the court the fact that it is being sued by the founding president of the AFM for unauthorised use of name,” said Chiangwa.
He went on to accuse Madawo of abusing court processes before accusing him of violating church’s constitution resulting in the creation of the current factions.
However, Madawo said; “The offending logo being used by the respondents nearly resembles the applicant’s registered trademark as to cause confusion. It has a crown, a cross and shining sun.
“All these symbols are inside a circle. The only difference is that the circle used by the respondents has a white background colour while that used by the applicant is blue in colour.”
He said the subtle differences were immaterial and, in the circumstances, it was reasonable for the applicant to remain apprehensive over that congregants and the public could be misled into believing there was no difference between the two churches.
On May 28 2021, the Supreme court handed down judgment on the leadership of AFM wrangle ordering Chiangwa was not the legitimate leader of the church.
Chiangwa accepted the judgment, but went on to form a church known as Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe with a logo that is similar to that of AFM’s registered trademark.
Madawo discovered the existence of AFM of Zimbabwe on June 6, 2021.
Thereafter, his church instructed its legal practitioners to write a cease-and-desist letter to the respondents which was delivered on June 8, 2021.
Madawo said the respondents have not stopped using a name similar to that of the applicant and using a logo that is similar to that of his church.