BY MOSES MATENGA
THE Supreme Court yesterday upheld part of a High Court ruling on the succession dispute in the African Apostolic Church nullifying the appointment of Alfred Mwazha as successor to his father and founder of the church, Archbishop Paul Mwazha.
Supreme Court judges Justices George Chiweshe, Susan Mavangira and Tendai Uchena ordered that the decision by High Court judge Justice Chitapi nullifying Alfred’s claim to be the successor of his 102-year-old father should stand.
The judgment read in part: “We conclude, therefore, that the non-citation of the archbishop was not fatal to the proceedings in the court a quo.
“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.
“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.
“To that extent, therefore, the appeal partially succeeds. For that reason, this is a case in which each party should bear its own costs.”
The judges ruled that the written note submitted by Alfred had nothing in it which spoke to the nomination of anyone as the archbishop’s successor.
“The learned judge a quo cannot be faulted in that regard. For that reason, the second ground of appeal stands to be dismissed.” Justice Mavangira said in her judgment.
According to the church constitution, a would-be successor to the office of archbishop must satisfy certain conditions including the blessing or approval of the incumbent archbishop, or alternatively, should the archbishop be incapacitated, the unanimous vote of a full priesthood council meeting.
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 demise.
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