THE internal power struggle at the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) has reached fever-pitch with church president Aspher Madziyire and his deputy, Reverend Cossum Chiangwa at each other’s throats.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
A group of church leaders reportedly passed a vote of no confidence in Madziyire recently and Chiangwa claims he has moved in to try and quell the dispute, triggering a war of words involving general secretary Amon Madawo.
In a letter to church leaders, Chiangwa called for a meeting set for today, but Madawo has described this as “insubordination”.
“Notice is hereby given of an urgent extraordinary workers council meeting scheduled for Saturday March 17, 2018 at Rufaro Conference Centre at 9am. All overseers, pastors, elders and deacons are invited to attend this meeting.
“My office as deputy president of AFM Zimbabwe has been inundated by letters from various sectors of the church including legal counsels. The letters are raising concerns around the unprecedented unrest and tension in the church caused by the constitutional reforms,” Chiangwa said.
“The meeting is, therefore, to review the state of the church in respect of the concerns (and) develop a national consensus on the areas that will bring the necessary peace, tranquillity and normal business of the church.”
Chiangwa yesterday said he was “protecting” the church and its leadership.
“I actually want to protect the president. I received a letter from lawyers representing other church leaders who passed a no confidence vote in the president (Madziyire) and general secretary (Madawo). My idea is to stop the fighting,” he said.
Chiangwa also denied altering his birth date.
“I changed my surname in 1990 to synchronise my birth certificate and national identity card. My birth certificate had Ramba and identity card had Chiangwa. I changed to the latter, but never changed any dates,” he said.
But Madawo said Chiangwa was arrogating himself authority outside the church constitution.
“In terms of section 13.3 of the regulation only the president is given authority to preside over the apostolic council and workers council. He is charged with the overall supervision and authority over overseers and pastors.
“In the circumstances the notice given by the deputy president calling for a workers council meeting on March 17, 2018 is an illegal attempt to usurp the powers of the church president,” Madawo said.
Madawo called on all those invited to “disregard the communication” from Chiangwa.
“The insubordination shown by the deputy president and his contempt of the workers council is a matter that shall be dealt with in accordance with the law in due course,” Madawo said.
Chiangwa, however, said Madawo has since backed down and the meeting would go ahead.
“I have explained the issues to the general secretary and president, the meeting is on,” Chiangwa insisted.
On the other hand, prominent lawyer Tawanda Nyambirai accused Chiangwa of plotting to stage a “coup”.
“It’s a coup because he does not have the authority to call for such a meeting,” Nyambirai said yesterday.
Madawo, however, said he had not agreed to the meeting.
“He (Chiangwa) is lying. We met yesterday (Wednesday) and he was emotional. We never agreed, the meeting remains illegal,” he said.