Friday 19 August 2022


THERE is no end in sight to the tussle for control of one of the country’s oldest apostolic denominations, the Archbishop Paul Mwazha-led Africa Apostolic Church (ACC), as a group aligned to the ageing Archbishop’s last born son is accusing the bloc led by the second born son of breaching standing court orders.

This emerged after one of the factions recently converged at the Odzi Mapembe Shrine for a Holy Communion gathering, with a Court Sheriff trying in vain to stop the proceedings.

The church has split into two factions, with one group being led by Archbishop Mwazha’s second born son, Bishop Alfred Kushamisa Mwazha; while the other is led by the Archbishop’s youngest son, Bishop Tawanda Israel Mwazha.

AAC succession wrangles erupted into the public domain more than three years ago, amid disagreements on whether Bishop Alfred and Bishop Tawanda should be the Archbishop’s successor.

Archbishop Mwazha, popularly known as Mudzidzisi, turns 104 this year.

A High Court Order granted on June 27, 2022, against Bishop Alfred’s faction which recently gathered at the Mapembe Shrine reads: “It is ordered that the provisional order granted on the 11th May 2022 be and is hereby confirmed.

“The first to eighth respondents and all those acting through them are hereby ordered not to visit the shrines of the first applicant without the consent of the current leadership of the church.

“The first to eighth respondents and all those acting through them are hereby ordered not to convene meetings of the African Apostolic Church (Vapostora VeAfrica), visit the first applicant’s shrines or place of worship or organise any event there….”

The eight respondents mentioned in the court order are Alfred Kushamisa Mwazha, Ngoni Edward Mwazha, James Mwazha, Richard Juru, Elson Tafa, Charles Tekeshe, Lovemore Mharadze and Norman Siyamuzhombwe.

The applicant is Ernest Mhambare, a member of the church who initiated the legal process on behalf of Bishop Tawanda’s faction. Bishop Moses Magura, who is aligned to Bishop Tawanda’s faction said: “This other group, which is just a small faction, should abide by the country’s laws. The country has laws and noone is above the law.”

In an interview with The Manica Post on the sidelines of the Holy Communion gathering, Bishop Charles Tekeshe, who is aligned to Bishop Alfred’s faction, confirmed that the Court Sheriff tried to stop their church service.

“It is surprising that we still have people who are bent on infringing other people’s rights to freedom of worship in this country. They (the Sheriff) came here and tried to disperse our gathering.

“Their court interdict, which they tried to use in barring us from meeting here, was signed by one Ernest Mhambare. Who is Ernest Mhambare? We resisted that because we do not take instructions from them, neither do we know who Ernest Mhambare is,” thundered Bishop Tekeshe.

Bishop Alfred’s faction believes that their leader was anointed as his father’s successor on February 28, 2020.

Speaker after speaker during Bishop Alfred’s Holy Communion service mentioned that mukuru mukuru, hanga haigare pfunde, meaning that the elder person (Bishop Alfred) must be respected by his sibling. The divisions, which are not only being felt in Zimbabwe, but also in neighbouring South Africa and Botswana, have seen each of the two formations appointing its own leaders, with congregants meeting at different places of worship.

However, as the church divisions widen, it is understood that the fights go deeper than the leadership issue, with prayer methods also causing disharmony.

For instance, long and personal prayers, widely known within the church as “tsindondi”, have been a source of disharmony, with a section of the church insisting on pre-written and recited prayers. Manica Post


Post a Comment