A new fight is brewing in the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) amid claims that followers of a splinter group led by Reverend Cossam Chiangwa are planning to besiege church premises countrywide and disrupt services today.
The battle to control AFM started in 2018 and has played out in the public for the past three years. It resulted in the emergence of two rival camps, one led by Reverend Amon Dubie Madawo and the other by Rev Cossam Chiangwa who was the church’s former deputy president.
AFM Harare north province overseer Reverend Charukwa who is under Reverend Amon Dubie Madawo’s faction has since sent a communique to congregants, urging them to “defend and guard the church” as the rival faction that recently lost a court ruling to control the church’s property is planning to cause anarchy today.
The statement, which The Sunday Mail is in possession of reads:
“Be at the church way before your usual starting time or have people at the church who will stop our erstwhile brothers when they try to enter the premises. Make sure all doors and gates are locked and secure only to be opened when we start church. This ensures maximum security on our part.”
In another statement dated October 16, the interim secretary general of AFM, Elder Chiwaridzo alleges that there have been recent cases of contempt of court, unlawful entry and trespassing at a number of the church’s assemblies around the country.
“Relevant reports on the transgression were lodged to the police with the intention of allowing the law to deal with the offenders. Charges were duly preferred to the offenders,” reads the statement.
Elder Chiwaridzo also said they were pushed to respond in view of threats of violence and lawlessness from the rival faction.
“Our leaders are required to ensure adequate protection of all members and church property in light of a call to lawlessness from some quarters . . .”
In a terse response to this reporter last night Pastor Chiangwa, whose faction is accused of plotting the planned disturbances, denied that they had plans to disrupt services.
“We are not aware of any plot to besiege a church congregation, we remain a peaceful people no matter what,” he said.
The dispute between the two camps spilled into the Supreme Court after a group led by Rev Chiangwa filed an appeal against a High Court order which gave Rev Madawo’s faction blessings to lead the church.
The row over control of the church and its assets was sparked by the church’s council meeting held at Rufaro, Masvingo in 2018.
The meeting, as part of its resolutions, passed a vote of no confidence on the president of the church Reverend Aspher Madziyire. The results of the council meeting saw leaders of both factions taking the matter to court.