Fierce leadership row rocks AFM

A FIERCE leadership wrangle has rocked the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe, raising fears the Pentecostal church could be heading for a split after some pastors and elders dragged their administrators to court challenging the way they conducted the church’s presidential and overseers’ elections last month.

By Phyllis Mbanje

According to court documents, some pastors, deacons and overseers from the church’s 20 provinces approached the court seeking nullification of Reverend Aspher Madziyire’s election as president.

“The above provinces were created just before the presidential election of the church to influence the election results in favour of the first defendant (Madziyire) who was the incumbent president when the provinces were created,” the pastors and deacons said in their court summons.

The litigants also claimed that Madziyire was elected without the consent of the church’s workers’ council which was supposed to form an electoral college to vote for the president.

“First defendant (Madziyire) gathered largely his protégés on the 31st of January 2015 without calling for the workers’ council as per the (AFM) constitution and claimed that those protégés who voted on that day had given him the mandate to be president of the church for the next three years from January 2015,” they averred.

The pastors also alleged the leaders involved “created” delegates who were not supposed to vote.

Madziyire is alleged to have achieved this by creating three provinces: Manicaland East, Murewa and Mashonaland Central.
“The provinces were created to influence the election results in favour of Madziyire.”

The disgruntled clergymen also sought to nullify provincial elections of overseers at the Tynwald AFM Church, saying they were not held in accordance with the AFM constitution.

Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, secretary of the church’s national leadership forum, Bishop Christopher Choto, said the bone of contention was the presidential elections which he said were held unconstitutionally.

“We are the concerned members of the church. We have come together because of the issues that are affecting the congregants and operations of the church,” Choto said.

He disputed allegations that it was a case of sour grapes for the pastors who lost in the elections.

“The issues that drove us to approach the courts are concerns of the congregants who were unhappy about the election process. There is now a lot of victimisation and intimidation of pastors. This has caused many divisions.”

The disgruntled clergymen, who are being represented by Harare lawyer Zivanai Macharaga, gave Madziyire and the church’s top leadership 10 days to file their opposing papers.

Efforts to contact Madziyire for comment last night were fruitless as he was reportedly in a church service.

16 Comments

  1. It seems Zimabweans hav never embraced unity of any kind or form. During the liberation struggle, the liberation movement was split into two factions Zanu and Zapu, all fighting a common enermy. mdc couldnt stay united despite facing a single common enermy. Zim churches split on a daily basis despite fighting one devil. No unity, compromise no success. Thus Zimbabwe is in the pathetic sorry state it finds itself in

  2. Nzeve dzinonzwa

    Bishop Choto is not an AFM pastor, he left the church way back after he dumped his ill wife when he was dragged away by a small house,he should shut up.Which AFm IS HE REPRESENTING? Choto is nursing his bitterness for his failure in USA too.

    1. Absolute truth, even the likes of Patson Munyengeterwa who are part of this fiasco are no longer pastors in AFMZ

  3. lolest…. u guys are really mad and crazzy. afm s not hedin 4 a split. wish u had mor tha 30 000 yuths wo were gathered at rufaro conferenc centre ovr th wkend under th leadrship of th curent president rev madziyire, u wudnt b sain that. am suprised to hear ths and i dnt care wo s leadin m. am hapy wit th curent situation and wo r these guys tryn to fyt 4. rather they shd let god fyt 4 his chch not them tryn help him. h s god and nid no man help him fyt his battles. these are power hungry pastors. f they wer nt power hungry they wudnt b doin ths. provinces have been formed sinc tym imemorial. in late 90s chitungwiza was split into 2 provinces wile harare was split into mor that 3 provinces bek them. so wats special abt t todae wen t has alwaes bin hapenin. pliz dnt tarnish our chch leadership. i luv them

    1. I was at Rufaro, massive conference

  4. Tinashe Murambidzi

    With all due respect. Bishop Choto is not competent at law to sue AFM for he literally dismissed himself from the church after divorcing his wife. He has since formalized his own ministry which he was running in Gweru as an interdenominational but riding on AFM members. The group of pastors whom he seems to be representing are being misguided. The man is on a publicity stint and these pastors will find themselves in a hole they cannot come out of. The voting system in the church was agreed on by the National Council way back. The issue of disqualification of some pastors to contest elections is constitutional as they were not remitting returns to province as required by the same constitution. They cannot violate the constitution and sue the very Organization they purport to work for. At law we call this approaching the courts with dirty hands. Besides as a manner of procedure, any irregularities are raised before votes are cast and in the absence of same, there is consensus that all is above board. In my respective view, the Executive must make a formal announcement and advise the courts that Bishop Choto has no locus standi in representing the chuirch as he is not part of it.

    On the other hand, some of the pastors on his side namely S Tigere have a very bad record that has been swept under the carpet for a long time. He in fact is running Revival Grace Ministries running under the AFM banner for numbers sake. At one time he literally beat up a board member who had been assigned to collect instruments when he refused to be transferred from Yobel Assembly to Afdis in 2002. He then declared himself independent and was not reporting to the local province until Rev Magaya took him back.

    At Bible college, Rev Tigere beat up the late Rev K Musundire over an issue of kapenta fish at meal time, but he (Tigere) was suspended from college as he was related to the then Principal Dr Murefu.

    When he (Tigere) graduated, he had a number of outstanding subjects and he was denied his Diploma certificate but surprisingly he was assigned to Mufakose assembly as a junior pastor whilst he was finishing off the subjects he had not done during his suspension. Surprisingly his fellow class mates who had graduated with flying colors notably the late Rev Musundire had to wait for another year before being assigned assemblies by the then Harare Overseer Rev T Murefu, elder brother to Dr Murefu the college principal.

    So Rev Tigere with all due respect has benefited from the AFM system for too long without reprisal and i find it absurd for him to fight a system that has been protecting him for too long. He needs to get back to his senses and do the right thing other than being used as a front by some hidden strong hand, we know it and it shall be exposed very soon.

    The other pastor they are working with Rev Paymore Murefu is young brother to Dr Murefu and T Murefu who all had previous scandals but were allowed to remain in the fold.

    Rev Munyengeterwa divorced his wife of decades against Gods word and the constitution and wants to retain pastoral office by physical means. Recently he was found guilty of assault.

    I urge these pastors to get back to their senses and do the right thing.

    Even if they are not happy that Dr Madziyire was re-elected, the issue is that the presidency is for one person at any given time. They just need to wait for the time that those whom they consider suitable get appointed.

  5. This church will not split, the likes of Choto etc may leave (I know he left, he already has his own called Aglow Ministries), but the church of God will move forward. I know his ally (Munyengeterwa) quite well, he is a disaster!! Divorced his wife and married another within no time – logic says the other lady was already in waiting for the divorce

  6. let the chickens come home to roost..iam a member of this denomination and the elections were a farce madziyire has totally and completely destroyed AFM he has made it a mission to remove from any post of influence the old members who knew the founding values of AFM of note his bief with chiyangwa and marufu,whilst we might say choto and munyengeterwa are not members thats a lie .from the days madziyire has been president we have seen a greater purging of pastors under his mandate ,he should leave how can a sitting president whilst unable to attend a senior meeting of the church ,knowing his vice president is there delegate to an overseer ,the very same overseer who was behind the destruction of AFM waterfalls ,now contesting and most probably will be vice president ,this is inself a creation of a elite group within the church hierarchy which has nothing to do with the gospel but power ..madziyire ngaande

  7. This is nothing new in the body of Christ. Church politics have always existed and its natural. It’s only maturity and magnanimity amongst the leaders in many ministries that make church politics look non-existent. I am urging our brethren in the AFM to remain resolute during these times, waiting upon the Lord’s guidance while praying for those who are in leadership at the moment. This can only but help strengthen the church. It depends on how you handle it. Be blessed and may AFM members continue, just like members from other ministries, to be the salt and the light of the earth (Matthew 5:16).

  8. The National Youth Conference was my first ever Youth Conference. I became a truly born again Christian when the Spirit of God called me to this Church 3 years ago. I felt the same Spirit at the National YPU. I had a dream on Friday night in which I saw some Pastors forming an allegiance against our beloved Father Baba Madziyire and the current leadership. An angel of the Lord had appeared before and told Baba Madziyire that these people would not prevail and that the church was secure under His (God’s) Leadership with Baba Madziyire being the chosen to steer the Church to greater glory. I told this dream to fellows from my assembly. I only know 4 pastors from the AFM and all are true Men of God. I have never met President Madziyire personally or any members from the National Council. All I know is what I dreamt. These men are true men of God. They are not perfect, but neither was Moses. Neither was Abaraham. Their mistakes should only prepare future leaders to be better leaders. That is what we become when we correct our mistakes and those made by others. by the way the AFM in Zimbabwe is for repentant sinners, the righteous should quickly die and go to heaven.

    AFM for better or for worse for life.

  9. Choto uri dofo! hauna kumbovhira wadanwa kubasa iri.

  10. Choto uri dofo! hauna kumbovhira wadanwa kubasa iri.

  11. Money is the root of all evil, hapana kana issue apa its all about money. Hapasisina kunamata vanhu vakukoshesa zvigaro ne mari. I thik ma elections are very bad in church. Dai Mwari vabatsira this church. Ana Krugah vanga vasina zvese izvi but vemazuvano yatova money first. Where is this body of Christ going? Simba hamusisina mangosara nemufananidzo wekunamata asi samba hapasisina. And the problem with Afm is you see yourself to be too spiritual, and criticis other churches but look at wre this church is going. The church is lacking prayer and forcusing on positions and money.Dai Mwari vakubatsirai isava Afm inonzi big church isina samba raMweya Mutsvene. Are yuou going to leave a legacy as your forefathers did or you gonna leave a a bad legacy of fighting for positions.
    Remember these are the last days.

  12. Ichokwadi ichocho AFM haichisina direction nekuda kwezvigaro nemari. Zvigaro zvopiwa vane mari chete murombo haatombotariswi. Mari manyanya kuida veduwe. Kurufaro hakuchanakidzi kuenda mharidzo ndedzekutuka mamwe machechi, fund raising blaa blaaa nguva yekunata hapana. Gotekwa ratinonamatira guruva, denga, chairs hapana. Mari yacho muri kuisa kupiko. Mwari ngasungure sangano redu riite zvinhu zvinoonekwa. AFM haibatsiri nherera, shirikadzi nevanoshaya basa ndorekungopfeka masutu asina humwari mukati. Ngatinamatireyi AFM mwari vatibatsire. Moyo wangu unorwadza tichisekwa kuti gore negore no improvement.

  13. Problem yese ye AFM iripana T.I Murefu. now that elections for vice presidency avapadhuze and he is no longer Overseer he wants to play hide and seek.

  14. Dai vafundisi vaita basa ramwari kwete basa remari beacuse izvi zvekurwirana chigaro inyaya yemari asi vasingaoni kuti varikutouraya mweya yevatendi vakawanda varikuda zvekunamata pachokwadi.Better vajoine mapolitical parties awandakudai munyika than kusvibisa zita rechurch all for the love of money instead of loving God and living by his word.May God help AFM leadership be with us all.

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