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High Court dismisses church feud

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High Court judge, Justice Lavender Makoni, recently dismissed an urgent chamber application filed by the bishop of the Bethlehem Apostolic Church seeking to interdict former bishop Alfred Zamkonsini from “interfering” with the institution’s activities.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Bishop Zachariah Caleb Gemu wanted to bar Zamkonsini and church member, Rephio Chirumbwa from interfering with the administration of the Harare-based church.

“After reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the application be and is, hereby, dismissed,” part of the order granted by Justice Makoni on May 9 this year reads. In his founding affidavit, Gemu had averred that there had been problems after Zamkonsini sought to bounce back as archbishop, a post that does not exist in the church’s structures.

Gemu said the church had to file an application for a declaratory order under case number HC3350/17 in order to restore sanity in the church and to stop the mayhem that was being caused by Zamkonsini and Chirumbwa.

“What is puzzling is that the first respondent (Zamkonsini) is causing unnecessary mayhem and confusion, which violates the applicant’s (Bethlehem Apostolic Church and Gemu) right to worship for no apparent reason or justifiable cause,” Gemu said.

“In essence, the first and second respondents (Zamkonsini and Chirumbwa) have formed their church and the first respondent is the archbishop of that church, which church has nothing to do with the first applicant and they should leave the applicant alone and in peace.”

Gemu said the incident leading to the application occurred on April 3 this year, when Zamkonsini and Chirumbwa, who had stormed Bethlehem Apostolic Church, were persuaded to leave the church premises until the dispute had been resolved.

Gemu said that was done and he together with the other congregants took over the church building and occupied assets, but on April 21 this year, the two allegedly “gathered up some thugs” and stormed the church
again.

However, the judge was not persuaded with their case and dismissed the urgent chamber application.

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