Factions of the troubled Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) church have resumed their battles at the courts once again, just weeks after the Supreme Court resolved the issue of leadership.
AFM In Zimbabwe president Reverend Amon Madawo filed an urgent application at the High Court to stop Reverend Cossam Chiangwa’s splinter church from using the name “Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe” arguing that it may mislead congregants. Reverend Madawo also wants the AFM Of Zimbabwe to be interdicted from using the AFM logo and symbols.
In the urgent application filed at the High Court, Reverend Amon Madawo says in part,
“The temporary interdict is sought to interdict the church; from using a logo that is identical and /or similar to the AFM in Zimbabwe’s registered trademark in respect of church meetings and gatherings…
“From using the name ‘Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe’ which is similar to the applicant’s name ‘Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe.
“The use of the former amounts to a misrepresentation that is likely to mislead the public and the AFM in Zimbabwe’s congregants into believing that its church is similar to that of AFM of Zimbabwe,”
This comes just after weeks after Reverend Madawo and his leadership emerged victorious at the Supreme Court following a protracted legal fight for the control of the church which started in 2018.
The litigation started when past President of the AFM in Zimbabwe church Reverend Aspher Madziyire and his deputy Reverend Cossam Chiangwa fell out over proposed amendments to the church constitution.
Reverend Chiangwa led a national workers’ council which passed a vote of no confidence against Madziyire and his administration in September 2018 and elected new leadership.
However, Madziyire dismissed the meeting which passed the vote of no confidence and approached the High Court to nullify the outcome of the gathering arguing that it was against the church’s constitution.
With each side declaring themselves to be the true leadership of the church, the High Court ruled against Reverend Cossam Chiangwa’s group and declared Madziyire the bonafide leader.
However, Reverend Chiangwa and his faction were not happy with this ruling and appealed the decision at the Supreme Court.
The appeal was heard by Supreme Court judges, Justice Susan Mavangira, Justice Lavender Makoni and Justice Samuel Kudya who dismissed the appeal by the Reverend Chiangwa faction.
The Supreme Court ruling also confirmed Reverend Amon Madawo who took over from Reverend Aspher Madziyire as the bonafide leader of the AFM In Zimbabwe church.
Following their defeat at the Supreme Court, Reverend Chiangwa and his faction launched their own splinter church which they called the AFM OF Zimbabwe to differentiate it from the existing AFM IN Zimbabwe.
H-Metro reports that Madawo also disputed that the AFM Of Zimbabwe is an affiliate of AFM International.
“In the press statement, AFM of Zimbabwe’s position is that ‘we are still part of AFM International and hence we can still use the logo…’.
“The membership of AFM in Zimbabwe to the Apostolic Faith Mission International is challenged.
“In any event, the Apostolic Faith Mission International does not have a registered trademark in Zimbabwe, the trademark is registered in the name of AFM in Zimbabwe.”
Reverend Cossam Chiangwa and the AFM Of Zimbabwe are yet to respond to the legal challenge.