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Mugodhi church leadership wrangle rages on

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 By Mary Taruvinga


LATE Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church founder Tadewu Mugodhi’s son has been dragged to court again for allegedly clinging on to the throne against the church’s constitution.

Washington is being accused of imposing himself as the Bishop of the church also against a court order.

The fight has been raging since last year.

Tonnie Sigauke, who is supposed to be the acting bishop following the death of Mugodhi, has filed yet another High Court application in which he is seeking a declaratory order confirming Aaron Munodawafa as the substantive bishop of the church with him as the deputy.

“The respondent was not a vice bishop at the time of his purported appointment, neither was he a member of the board of ministries nor the most senior member of the applicant,” Sigauke said.

“The respondent was only a junior pastor in the applicant, and it is impossible for him to be appointed bishop in terms of the Constitution. Succession of the leadership is not hereditary; it is governed by a Constitution,” he told court.

According to court papers, Sigauke and Munodawafa were the church’s vice bishops appointed in terms of their Constitution.

Sometime in February last year, the late Mugodhi was diagnosed with a terminal illness leading to his death in October 2019.

When he was sick, Mugodhi pronounced his son as the bishop during a meeting.

Sigauke said this was unlawful and proceeded to approach the courts challenging the move.

The High Court upheld his application with Washington’s appointment declared null and void.

Washington was also stopped from making any other appointments.

This prompted Washington and his brothers to appeal against the decision through the Supreme Court.

The counter appeal succeeded on a technicality after it was noted that the High Court had erroneously admitted evidence filed in Shona.

During a national general conference that followed on February 20 this year, it was resolved that Munodawafa as the senior bishop would become the substantive church leader with Sigauke as his vice.

The court heard Sigauke became the acting bishop since Munodawafa is now 105 years old and therefore incapacitated to carry out church functions.

However, that same month during the late Mugodhi’s memorial service, Washington imposed himself on the position and continued to hold the office to date.

Sigauke said Washington had caused a split in the church and affected the congregants’ right to worship.

The matter is pending.