BY EVERSON MUSHAVA There seems to be no end is sight to the fight over control of the African Apostolic Church (AAC) founded by Paul Mwazha as his estranged son, Alfred Kushamisa, continues to disregard a Supreme Court order which barred him from purporting to be the archbishop and successor to his aged father.
In early October, the Supreme Court upheld part of a High Court ruling on the succession dispute in the AAC nullifying the appointment of Kushamisa as successor to his father and founder of the church.
But according to Nickiel Mushangwe, the lawyer representing the aged church founder, Kushamisa at the weekend organised a meeting to confer him as church leader against the Supreme Court ruling which stated that he could not replace his father while he was still alive.
“We have filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court against Kushamisa and his team,” Mushangwe said.
“They held a meeting against a court order where they deliberated on the issue of succession. The matter is set for today. They are claiming to be in charge of church affairs on the basis that they held this meeting of the priesthood council, which at law was illegal and fraudulent.
“They did not invite other members who must sit in that meeting. We want to stop them from acting in the purported capacity of the archbishop.”
Two weeks ago, Supreme Court judges Justices George Chiweshe, Susan Mavangira and Tendai Uchena concurred with High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi’s decision to nullify Kushamisa’s claim to be the successor of his aged father.
The judgment read in part: “Further, we are not persuaded by the appellant’s contention that the court a quo erred and misdirected itself in holding, as it did at paragraphs 1 and 2 of its order, that the nomination or appointment of the first appellant as successor to the archbishop was unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.
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“In our view, the court a quo’s decision in that regard cannot be faulted in light of the provision of article 9.2 of the 10th appellant’s constitution.”
The judges said there was no evidence before the court that the archbishop was incapacitated and a successor should be appointed.
According to the church’s constitution, Mwazha is the permanent head of the church and in the event of his demise, the congregational priesthood, which comprises all his biological sons and bishops in the church, shall make decisions unanimously.
Mwazha has delegated some of his duties to his bishops, who are his biological sons, but the debate in the church is on who will take over in the event of his death
Kushamisa, according to court papers, was not of good standing in the church due to his previous polygamous marital status.
While the succession fight rages, Mwazha, one of few indigenous church leaders, turned 103 on Monday.
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