By Staff Reporter
THE fight for control of the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe took a new twist Friday following the endorsement of Reverend Amon Madawo’s leadership by the church’s world body led by South African cleric Frank Chikane.
Chikane is president of AFM International, the global body that controls the church in 35 countries across the world.
He told a press conference in Harare Friday that he had been meeting with protagonists in the church wrangle that exploded into a public spectacle he said was negatively affecting the church’s image with potential to destabilise the entire country.
“We have been talking to a groups and want unity. We want one church in Zimbabwe that is united,” Chikane said.
“We have even talked to the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and they have told us of their consternation at what is happening. We believe even ordinary Zimbabweans are worried that the fighting could affect the country.
“We came here at the invitation of Reverend Madawo to unite the different groups. We do not want to lose any member and even those whose actions are technically unconstitutional. We still calling upon them to return to the church. We have also talked to Pastor Cossum Chiyanwa and we will continue to discuss.”
Chiyangwa and Madawo are at each other’s throats over constitutional and institutional changes to the way the AFM is to be run in Zimbabwe.
According to Chikane, the changes are set to affect the benefits to pastors at different parishes and this has triggered the fight.
Chiyangwa leads one faction while Madawo, elected on November 3 to replace Asper Madziyire, now has Chikane’s backing.
In a statement issued by AFM International secretary general George Mahlobo, Madawo’s election was above board.
“Whereas the Workers Council on September 15, 2018 did not comply with the AFM International intervention report, it is our view that the 21st September 2018 Apostolic Council decision complied fully with the AFM International report,” Mahlobo said.
“In light of this, all church structures that were formed on the basis of the decision of the 21st September 2018 are official in ourview.”
In a bid to deal with lingering legitimacy issues Chikane has advised Madawo to approach the High Court for a declaratory on who the rightful leader is.
Mahlobo and Chikane called for a cessation of hostilities.
“We are calling on all to open AFM buildings and facilities to all members of the church and the public. No one should hinder anyone from worshiping in any church of the AFM in Zimbabwe.
“The leadership of the church in Zimbabwe has been urged to immediately begin reconciliation and healing at all levels of the church and normalise relations between the leadership including dropping all cross disciplinary procedures against each other,” Mahlobo said in the statement.
With Zimbabwe having a great diaspora population, fears abound that the split could have a global domino effect. Mahlobo was quick to plead.
“We discourage anyone within AFM in Zimbabwe and internationally to export the divisions and conflicts in Zimbabwe to AFM churches internationally,” he said.