By Mary Taruvinga
THE leader of an Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) faction, Cossam Chiyangwa who lost to church rival Amon Madawo in a protracted power wrangle within the religious institution 2019, has again lost his Supreme Court appeal against an earlier High Court ruling.
The Supreme Court Friday ruled that Chiyangwa’s appeal lacked merit before dismissing his case with costs.
However, the defiant Reverend said the court ruling was not a setback to his resolve to win control of the church.
“This is what we have always said…we will not succumb to the new reformed and draconian Constitution,” he said through his secretary general Nathan Nhira.
“That’s why we have always said, we won long ago, on the 22nd September, 2018, when we categorically refused and rejected the new constitution and its sponsors, there is no other better win for us.”
Added Nhira in a statement, “Let your hearts not be troubled, believe in God and trust your leadership.
“Do not panic, as usual, your leadership is in full control, do not move out of church buildings, nor surrender any assets prematurely.
“It is however prudent and encouraged that those in church buildings and mission house should urgently start looking for alternative places of worship and accommodation.
“We are not abandoning the ship, stay put, we moving on, do not be shaken, we on the move, united we stand as we gladly move forward.”
Chiyangwa said his faction was going to continue operating as a church with its original constitution and its accompanying regulations.
“We are re-constituting ourselves. We still part of AFM International and hence we can still use the logo again until AFM International excludes us from its affiliate membership, then we will design an appropriate logo and move on to establish our own International forum,” he said.
Chiyangwa had rushed to the Supreme Court after Madao who is backed by immediate past president Aspher Madziyire was declared legitimate leader of the church by High Court judge David Mangota.
But a Supreme Court Bench chaired by Justice Kudya said “Chiyangwa had no locus standi to launch the second application. His claim to office was anchored on their meeting of September 22 2018 which was void abinitio and of no force or effect.
“Accordingly, it is ordered that the fifth ground of appeal is hereby struck out. The appeal be and is hereby dismissed in its entirety with costs.”
In his appeal, Chiyangwa was backed by Amon Chinyemba, Nathan Nhira, Shepherd Sebata, Donard Ndoni, Aurthur Nhambuko and M Mashumba.
The High Court ruled that Chiyangwa’s group must reverse everything it did, return everything they took and must stop presenting themselves as leadership of the church.
They were stopped from accessing or using any assets or property of any kind belonging to the church.
The group was also ordered to relinquish to the church, all and any property belonging to the church that is in possession or under control of the respondents.
Madziyire and his then deputy split in 2018 each of them commanding their followers in the church after a September 2018 church council meeting, which passed a vote of no confidence in the now former president of the church.
Madao was cited as the respondent in the court papers together with Munyaradzi Shumba, Madziyire, Tawanda Nyambirai, Clever Mupakaidzwa, Briton Tembo and Christopher Chemhuru.