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Police drawn into AFM saga

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THE UNFOLDING turmoil in the Apostolic Faith Mission Church (AFM) of Africa International in Lobengula, Bulawayo, reached fever pitch over the Easter holiday with members disgruntled by the continued leadership of the overseer reverend Tony Tshuma being reportedly blocked from attending church services.

SILAS NKALA
STAFF REPORTER

The church’s national choir master and preacher Mike Moyo as well as Khawulani Sibanda and Wonder Chigwende were reportedly blocked from entering the church, but Sibanda and Chigwende bulldozed their way saying they could not be barred from worshiping while known prostitutes were allowed in.

The latest drama comes in the wake of a move by the disgruntled group seeking a protection order against Tshuma and his followers alleging threats of physical assault. The case is still pending before Western Commonage magistrate Tancy Dube who advised the disgruntled group to file its applications as individuals.

Moyo told Southern Eye yesterday he was extremely frustrated during Easter church services. He alleged that at some point a police officer based at Drill Hall in the city, Inspector Jabulani Sigadula, manned the deacons and choir members’ entrance on April 18 and 19 and prevented him from entering.

Sigadula is the son of the church’s head deacon who is aligned to Tshuma.

Moyo said he went to Harare on April 12 for a wedding of a Gweru pastor and informed reverend Patson Magalela Hlabangane before he left.

Moyo said on returning to Bulawayo on April 15, Hlabangane told him that Tshuma wanted to see him and when he went to meet with him, he found him with pastors Hebert Yalala, Hlabangane and Sylvester Ncube.

“Tshuma said he heard I was in Harare and attended church with rebels and they were shocked since I was doing great work in the Bulawayo church. He said when they checked the names of people who applied for a peace order, mine was among them,” he said.

Moyo added that he asked Tshuma to charge him if he had done anything wrong and the overseer said he was talking to him as his child.

“One Shelton Mthunzi came in and knelt in front of Tshuma and said I am an evil person and must not be allowed to apologise as I am no longer wanted in the church. He said if I want to apologise I must write an affidavit and give it to the lawyer to be taken to court and not apologise verbally. I told him to stop interfering in things which he did not know.

“He said Tshuma wanted to know if my name was on the list of rebels as some members of the church and choir wanted him kicked out and he would let them have their way since he was unco-operative,” he said.

“I then told them problems were not all about rebels, but they stemmed from me and six other church members being blocked from entering the church on February 23 2014 without a clear reason.

“I told them this was the reason we sought a peace order from the courts because we could not worship under such threats.”

Moyo said on February 23, about 30 people formed a wall blocking him and others from entering the church and they reported the matter to the Njube police.

He said after the court case on April 17, they filed their protection orders as per the magistrate’s advice and Tshuma met with his clique and allegedly resolved to fire them from the church.

Moyo said he then discovered that there was a list of six people, including him, to be fired from the church.

He said on Friday April 18, he went to church wearing his choir uniform, but found the cop Sigadula manning the deacon and choir entrance.

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