FORMER bishops and the secretariat of the African Apostolic
Church (Vapostora VeAfrica) have been barred from visiting the church’s shrine
in Chivhu without the authority of the current leadership.
In an urgent chamber application made by the church in
January this year, through its board of trustees, vice-chairperson Patrick
Mahachi and Ernest Mhambare, who is the
second applicant, the church alleged that the former members invaded their
place of worship in Chivhu known as Guvambwa.
Upon invading one of the church’s most sacred shrines, the
respondents allegedly removed the door to the church offices and replaced it.
They also mapped out construction plans on the land belonging to the church.
“Respondents, who are defrocked former members of the
church had taken over one of the buildings at the shrine. They evinced the
intention of starting major construction works at the shrine commencing January
31, 2022, without the consent of the church. The applicants acted with urgency
and filed an urgent chamber application the very same day,” Mahachi submitted.
“Respondents have marked out certain areas of the shrine
land for trenching and have indicated that building materials and more workers
will arrive…the respondents have signalled their serious intent by placing an
advance team that will lead the construction work in this building, without the
consent of the church. They have actually changed windows and put a new door to
an existing building.”
A former bishop, Alfred Mwazha, however, issued a notice of
opposition on February 3, dismissing the urgent chamber application saying it
was based on falsehoods.
The church has over 100 000 followers.
“The first applicant is not properly before the court and
cannot institute legal proceedings at the instance of the persons behind this
application, the matter is not urgent,” Mwazha submitted.
“The jurisdiction facts on which the applicants are
asserting as urgency are fake. The respondents have not been to the Guvambwa
shrine this year. There is no construction as alleged. There’s no plan
whatsoever for the respondent to engage in the alleged construction works. The
applicants are misleading for reasons best known to themselves.”
High Court judge Justice Emilia Muchawa ordered the
respondents to stay off the church’s shrine as long as they do not have express
consent from the current leadership.
“The first to eighth respondents be, and hereby ordered not
to visit the shrines of the first applicant, without the consent of the current
leadership of the church… are hereby ordered not to convene meetings of the
African Apostolic Church or visit the first applicant’s shrines or places of
worship or organise any event there. Pending return date, by consent of the
parties, neither party shall undertake any construction works, improvements or
other developments at the Guvambwa shrine,” the judgment read.
“If you wish to oppose confirmation of this provisional
order, you will have to file a notice of opposition…together with one or more
opposing affidavits with the registrar of the High Court at Harare within 10
days after the date of which this provisional order was served upon you. If you
do not file an opposing affidavit within the period specified above, this
matter will be set down for hearing in the High Court at Harare without further
notice to you and will be dealt with as an unopposed application for
confirmation of the provisional order.”
The respondents from first to eighth are Alfred Kushamisa
Mwazha, Ngoni Edward Mwazha (a former bishop), James Mwazha, Richard Juru
(former general secretary), Elson Tafa, Charles Tekeshe, Lovemore Mharadze and
Norman Siyamuzhombwe. Newsday