By Desmond Chingarande
SENIOR members of the African Apostolic Church (VaApostora VeAfrica)’s Holy Shrines founded by archbishop Paul Mwazha have filed an urgent chamber application seeking to stop his son, Alfred, from hosting a three-day mass ceremony starting this Friday.
Mwazha’s other son, Chiseko, in an application filed at the High Court last Thursday, said he recently got wind of his brother’s intention to hold church ceremonies at two of the church’s holy shrines in Manicaland and the Midlands provinces.
In the application, Chiseko together with one of the church’s bishops, Patrick Mahachi, cited Alfred, Ngoni, Masimba and James Mwazha as respondents.
Also cited as respondents in the latest application are other members of the church’s leadership, including Richard Juru, Elson Tafa, Charles Tekeshe, Lovemore Mharadze and Norman Siyamuzhombwe.
Last year, the High Court nullified the appointment of Alfred as church leader and successor of his father.
Dissatisfied with the outcome at the lower court, Alfred and members of his breakaway faction filed an appeal which is pending at the Supreme Court.
Chiseko, who is also a bishop in the church, is arguing that Alfred and the rest of the defendants should be barred from hosting the ceremony as it violates the church’s constitution.
“The respondents want to go ahead with the mass gatherings starting from next week and we were advised late on the 15th of September that the respondent’s followers invaded the property and started making arrangements to erect a structure at Ndarikure Shashe Shrine and Mapambe Shrine. This is being done outside of the provisions of the church’s doctrine, because only Archbishop Paul Mwazha can call such a meeting at these holy shrines. The actions of the respondents are against the constitution of the church,” Chiseko submitted.
Chiseko is also arguing that the gathering could expose church members to COVID-19.
“The members of the church and their children and relatives will be exposed to COVID-19 infection by this super-spreader mass ceremony. The actions of the respondents pose a clear and present danger to the church as a whole because (its) name, which is very well known, will be (harmed). As a Christian church, the last thing church leaders want to be associated with, is breaking the law and COVID-19 regulations as well as chaos and violence that might arise there,” he further submitted.