The Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe’s founding president, Enos Manyika has lost his legal battle in which he sought an order barring the current president Reverend Amon Madawo from using the church’s registered name.
Manyika, through his lawyers Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, recently filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order interdicting the Rev Madawo faction from using the registered name of the church.
Manyika argued that it has caused the creation of a parallel constitution, which is separate from the one registered and filed with the Registrar of Deeds.
However, Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Christopher Dube-Banda dismissed Manyika’s application, saying it was not urgent. He ruled:
In the result, the point in limine on urgency is upheld. This application is not urgent and is removed from the roll of urgent matters.
Justice Dube-Banda ordered Manyika to pay the legal costs incurred by the respondents. He said:
The applicant is the person behind the litigation. This is one of the cases where this court will not hesitate to exercise its discretion in awarding costs on a legal practitioner and client scale.
The costs of this application to be borne by the applicant in his personal capacity on a legal practitioner and client scale.
The judge ruled that Manyika was merely trying to hoodwink the court and challenge the decision of the Supreme Court hiding under the name of the church. Said Justice Dube-Banda:
In casu, it is clear that the applicant (Dr Manyika) is conducting his own litigation masquerading as the church. He has no authority from the church to institute these proceedings.
In fact, he is aware of the High Court and Supreme Court judgments in respect of this dispute, which has since been resolved by the courts.
A litigant cannot be permitted to recycle the same dispute before the court. This court cannot countenance such conduct because once the Supreme Court has spoken, a litigant cannot be permitted to bring the same issue, in whatever name, before this court.
The battle to control AFM started in 2018, resulting in the emergence of two rival camps.
One faction was led by Rev Madawo, the church’s former secretary and the other by Rev Cossam Chiangwa who was the church’s former deputy president.
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 Supreme Court handed Rev Madawo’s camp victory recently after it upheld a previous High Court decision and agreed that a 2018 meeting that purported to change the leadership was void.