Parishioners at Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) Waterfalls assembly have approached the High Court seeking an order barring the congregation’s national leadership from interfering with their freedom of worship through the use of police and intimidation.
In an urgent chamber application filed by their lawyer, Taona Sibanda, the church is alleging the AFM national leadership, working in cahoots with the police, Harare East province overseer, Amon Chinyemba and one Amon Madawo were blocking their freedom to worship, as they disrupted their services and blocked entrances to the church premises.
An affidavit filed with the courts, reveals that on November 13, 2015, the church approached the court seeking an order to stop interference by the top leadership in the conduct of their business. In the papers, AFM in Zimbabwe is listed as the first respondent, Harare East province as second, Chinyemba as third respondent, Madawo as fourth respondent.
“On November 14, 2015 the first to fourth respondents and their agents proceeded to storm the church premises, which they had earlier locked in order to unlawfully deprive the applicant’s peaceful and undisturbed occupation. Thereafter, the respondents violently opened the church, destroying the locks, which they had earlier put on the doors and proceeded to enter the church building,” read an affidavit filed by Hectar Takawira on behalf of the congregation.
AFM parishioners accused Chinyemba of being dictatorial in the management of the church.
This is not the first time the church has been embroiled in a wrangle with its leadership that has attracted the intervention of anti-riot police.
“The respondents have proceeded to cause riot police officers to be on the premises in order to intimidate the applicants, who have always been in peaceful and undisturbed assembly at the church prior to these unlawful interferences, disturbances, vandalisms and evictions,” Takawira said.
“The respondents’ conduct in the first place exhibited putting the law into their own hands by disturbing the applicant’s peaceful and undisturbed possession of the property and by further proceeding to vandalise property. The respondents have exhibited a wilful disrespect of the authority of the courts that ought to meet the highest condemnation by the courts.”
The matter is set to be heard by Justice David Mangota tomorrow.