Woes continue to mount at the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe as 276 leaders of the church last Monday lodged an urgent application seeking the High Court to block the convening of a Special Worker’s Council meeting which was set for yesterday.
It is said the meeting intended to set aside the constitutional provisions on elections. The applicants, who are members and councillors of the AFM church in Zimbabwe, said they feared that the Special Workers’ Council meeting had the objective to suspend elections, in violation of the existing constitution.
They argued that the Workers Council elected members have no mandate to carry on with the meeting following the expiration of their three-year term of office last month.
Through their legal representatives, Warara and Associates, the councillors led by Pastor Togara Mapingure cited Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe, its president Dr Aspher Madziyire and Mr Tawanda Nyambirai as its three respondents.
Mr Nyambirai is responsible for AFM’s constitutional reforms.
The applicants stated Dr Madziyire and Mr Nyambirai as the first and second respondents who are involved in amending the constitution of the church, which will result in far reaching changes to the structure and church order in general.
“The 2nd and 3rd respondents are involved in amending the existing constitution of the 1st respondents which process will result in far reaching changes to the structure and church order in general.
“The Applicant have looked at the process and in particular noted that the respondents want to violate the current constitution by calling a Special Workers Council meeting with the aim of suspending or postponing elections which are due in terms of the existing constitution,” read the application under case number HC 1166/18. AFM is led by a president and Apostolic Council which is elected for a three-year term. The existing constitution provides for a three-year term for the leadership which expired last January. These can be extended upon re-election.
The Apostolic Council run the church on behalf of the Supreme Board, which is the National Workers Council.
Both the National Workers Council and Apostolic Councils are chaired by the president.
Last year, the church announced the postponement of the elections as it set out to amend the church’s constitution, much to the ire of the councillors who are suspecting that the move is aimed at changing the structure of the church.
The councillors said they fear the respondents would pass a resolution through the Workers Council to suspend both provincial and national elections to choose a new president since the term of Dr Madziyire lapsed last month.
“The decision to suspend the election has been a hot issue in the church for months now and the result of such conduct by respondents would be a blatant violation of the church constitution and further it will seriously prejudice the applicants as detailed in this application.
“As regards urgency of this matter, the respondents have set the date of 10 February 2-18 at 10.00 am for the meeting of the Workers Council so as to proceed with the issues raised by the 3rd respondent in his illegally convened Workers Council of 20 January 2018.
“In these circumstances, if the court does not grant the Applicants the order sought, then the Applicants’ rights will be violated by the respondents without any recourse. The respondents cannot suspend elections and at the same time continue to hold office lawfully.
“The Workers Council has no power to appoint people into offices except through proper elections because all those who sit in the Workers Council except pastors are voted into office for a three-year term. Once that term expires their mandate expires hence they cannot act further without holding an assembly mandate,” the councillors said.
In addition, the councillors said: “It is the applicants’ view that the respondents cannot convene a Workers Council where the agenda is to set aside the constitutional provisions on elections. The applicants believe that the respondents will proceed with their earlier agenda to postpone the elections despite verbal promises made at a meeting of the parties. This is clear because of the outline of the agenda for the 10 February 2018 meetings.”
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