By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE High Court has ruled that eight members of the Evangelical Church of Zimbabwe were no longer affiliates of the denomination, and should accordingly stop using the name, its uniforms and properties.
In a recent ruling, Justice Joseph Musakwa also ordered the named individuals to surrender church property and also be evicted from church premises.
The eight are Bishop Benson Makachi, Simon Nota, Silas Gweshe, Gibson Mutsaka, Everson Breakfast David Chiveso Fredson Gama and one Mugava.
Some of the properties the members are prohibited from using are in Harare’s Warren Park, Glen Norah, Budidiro, Dzivarasekwa high-density suburbs and Kwekwe and church owned schools.
The church split into two factions after Bishop Amos Mateva in 2009 argued a church election was flawed in that a constitutional requirement that a Bishop must be a holder of a theological degree was overlooked.
The split in the church occurred after the first defendant was disqualified for not having a theological degree.
The first defendant wanted a second bite of the cherry, having previously served as bishop despite not being qualified.
The first defendant’s insistence that he had qualifications equivalent to a theological degree was never confirmed by the annual general conference in terms of Article V111 of the applicant’s constitution, it was argued.
“By insisting that the first defendant was so qualified without submitting to the constitution, the defendants created a schism and such schism found expression in the creation of a parallel structure that was not set up in accordance with the constitution,” the court ruled.