AFM Church saga deepens

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Second from right Tony Tshuma overseer of Apostolic Faith Mission Church coming out of Western Ccommonage court
Second-from-right-Tony-Tshuma-overseer-of-Apostolic-Faithb-Mission-Church--coming-out-of-Western-Ccommonage-court-yesterday
Second from right Tony Tshuma overseer of Apostolic Faith Mission Church coming out of Western Ccommonage court.

A POWER struggle and alleged tribalism rocking one of Zimbabwe’s oldest churches, the Apostolic Faith Mission of Africa International (AFM) in Lobengula, Bulawayo, yesterday spilled into the courts.

SILAS NKALA
STAFF REPORTER

Some disgruntled members applied for a protection order against the overseer Tony Tshuma and 40 others accusing them of unleashing violence against those opposed to the church leader.

The application was filed before magistrate Tancy Dube at the Western Commonage Magistrates’ Court just a few days after it was reported that the church had been plagued by disaffection caused by alleged ethnic wars between Ndebele speaking worshippers and their Shona speaking counterparts.

The divisions reached boiling point and death threats are reportedly being traded between the warring factions.

The disenchanted group comprising more than 50 members has also accused Tshuma of fraudulently taking over the reins of the church in 2008 and abusing church funds.

He is also accused of threatening those against his leadership with either death or expulsion. The overseer allegedly grabbed the church-owned Lydead Range Farm in Gwanda.

In an affidavit, lawyer Claudious Manamela, who is representing the 50 disgruntled church members wrote: “The church has been automatically divided into two factions because of several misunderstandings each and every time we meet for worshiping and meetings.

“Tony Tshuma, being the ring leader of the other faction, incites the members whose names are on the attached annexure (40 members), to engage in violence threatening us physically since February 23 2014.”

Lawyer Walter Nyabadza of Majoko and Majoko, who was representing Tshuma and 40 other members, sought the dismissal of the application.

“The respondent would like to make a preliminary point in the plea that this court dismisses the application by the applicants,” he submitted.

“It is in the respondent’s plea that this court is not supposed to deal with this matter.

“Looking at the founding affidavit of the applicant; it is clear that he is standing as an applicant not in his capacity, but representing a certain faction that has signed a purported resolution.”

Nyabadza said the reading of the affidavit showed that Manamela was not alone in the application and that meant the move was a “class action” which cannot be dealt with by any other court in Zimbabwe, except the High Court.

He said in terms of the law contained in the Class Actions Act Section 2, Manamela and his faction had made a default legal action by filing a protection order application in the wrong court.

“I submit that the matter brought to this court is a class action and that the applicants proceeded in a wrong procedure and approached the wrong court and this matter must be dismissed,” submitted Nyabadza.

“The applicant also has no locus standi (the right to bring an action) to represent the church members in that he instituted the wrong process. In the event that this court does not consider the special plea, the respondent would like to request for further better particulars from the applicants as follows: Whether the peace order is against the respondent in his personal capacity or as an official; when did the applicant become a member of the church?”

However, the magistrate interjected indicating that it would be unfair for the applicant to only hear of the respondent’s opposition submissions orally in court yet the defence lawyer had not served him with papers.

“It’s unfair for the applicant to hear what you are saying here in court yet he has not been given the opposition papers,” Dube said.

“He served you with the papers and you should have responded so that he also comes here armed with your papers to challenge you.

“At the moment, he has no opposition papers and how would he respond to what you are saying if he has read nothing from you.

“The papers would have made him understand what you are talking about rather than you having to ambush him here,” the magistrate added.

The magistrate ordered that Nyabadza serves Manamela and his group with opposing papers to enable them to discuss as a group.

Dube remanded the matter to April 17. The disgruntled group has also accused Tshuma’s son Joseph of similar charges of threatening church members.

Joseph, who is also a Zanu PF activist, is accused of threatening to use his political connections to deal with congregants who opposed his father’s continued leadership of the church.

Joseph, who is reportedly in charge of the church’s farm, vehemently defended his father in an interview with Southern Eye and denied interfering with operations of the church or grabbing the farm.

He said the infighting was fuelled by tribalism and accused some congregants of mobilising against his father’s ouster because they did not want to be led by a Ndebele.

Tshuma has presided over the church since 2008.

9 COMMENTS

  1. This is a proper scandal on top of all that’s been happening in the churches, prophets, sex, predators etc. Is heaven segregated ? How do you all read your bibles ? You have just purchased your one way ticket to hell.

  2. You guys are missing the main point and that is noone was opposed to his leadership while his leadership was in the confines of the bible its when he started enterraining men with untoward lives and instead of disciplining them he elevated them to pastors that’s when the congregation got disappointed and wanted him out,..all these other issues of tribalism and fraudulent documents inasmuch as they are serious came after his leadership started supporting sin

  3. The problem is not tribalism as alleged by Joseph Tshuma. Problem is that Tony Tshuma supported sinful pastors. He can not reprimand them Recently three pastors were stopped from being pastors but to remain ordinary church by the Board of Trustee and council of elders. He reinstated them to their positions single handedly. He further threatens congregants who oppose him with death or to expel them from church. Tony Tshuma knows that he is not supposed to be the church leader as per church’s 1986 constitution. Other Pastors who support him actually know the truth but they want to follow darkness. Tony Tshuma and your group know that you are fighting Jesus Christ and Holy God. The Lord is giving you time to realise your mistakes. If you persist you will all perish with all your followers. God will not allow the church which preach about Jesus Christ to be led to hell. Better you retreat God will deal with you. Remember Elia and Baari Prophets. You are fighting the holy one Tony and your group.

  4. the problem is doing umsebenzi wenkosi carnally. our beloved Father Sibanda brought growth peace and stability to our church and tshuma in only 6 years, the church is stagnant, dying and tribally divided. we are fighting for the legacy Ubaba usibanda fought for over the years which was given us by ubaba USengwayo The Man of God.

  5. The problem is not Tribalism Baba Sibanda was ndebele and he was well respected by all the church congregants because he was upright. Joseph Tshuma who comment about tribalism is not even church member. He is tribalistic. The problem is that his father Tony Tshuma went against church doctrines which is leading the people to God through Jesus Christ. Tony Tshuma went on to say he can talk to God. His Pastors when on pulpit would praise him at some time one pastor did not even read the bible glofying Tony Tshuma. That is the main problem. Tony Tshuma threatens congregants with death if you go against him. Tony Tshuma changed church constitution twice and changed church name. The changes were done without the knowledge of church congregants as if the church belonged to him. Joseph Tshuma do not lie to the nation one day God will deal with you. Why commenting when you are not a church member.
    Tony Tshuma supports prostitution his close pastors have been involved in scandals of prostitution. Some pastors have two wifes and childrens out of wedlock. Some pastors were involved in forging the church constitution they are the ones close to him.

  6. The problem is not Tribalism Baba Sibanda was ndebele and he was well respected by all the church congregants because he was upright. Joseph Tshuma who comment about tribalism is not even church member. He is tribalistic. The problem is that his father Tony Tshuma went against church doctrines which is leading the people to God through Jesus Christ. Tony Tshuma went on to say he can talk to God. His Pastors when on pulpit would praise him at some time one pastor did not even read the bible glofying Tony Tshuma. That is the main problem. Tony Tshuma threatens congregants with death if you go against him. Tony Tshuma changed church constitution twice and changed church name. The changes were done without the knowledge of church congregants as if the church belonged to him. Joseph Tshuma do not lie to the nation one day God will deal with you. Why commenting when you are not a church member.
    Tony Tshuma supports prostitution his close pastors have been involved in scandals of prostitution. Some pastors have two wifes and childrens out of wedlock. Some pastors were involved in forging the church constitution they are the ones close to him.

  7. The language you are using to comment on this issue shows signs of disrespect ,regardless of the gravity of the matter.How can you call a person who is 90 years by his first name,it shows that you are not spiritually mature.Please do not attack someone with lies, The present overseer did endorsed himself but was agreed upon by fellow cogregants. Be mature and do not continue attacking everyone on the issue i do not support sin neither do i support you ways in bringing down current leadership.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming,and let us not focus on others but on oneself for we are going to be judged by what we do and say,and not what others did or say .

    Please let us have a vision in the gospel .
    Lord Jesus come!

  8. Tshuma is a terrible liar. There are no tribalists @ church. He messed up and expects people to watch him mess things. If people speak against him, then they`ve become tribalists, my foot.

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