In a post that was in the Herald this week, Chiseko Mwazha, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) notified the public that they had suspended 8 of their leaders, who also make up the top echelons of the church and close aides of Mwazha. These include his General Secretary, Richard Juru, Publicity Officer Elson Tafa, Transport Coordinator Norman Siyamuzhombwe, Keeper of the Holy Communion Lovemore Mharadze Chiome, Masvingo Chairman Prosper Rusike and Manicaland Bishop Charles Tekeshe. Mwazha Paul never did this, this is the first time it has been done. All church matters were jealously guarded during the time he was still active in church matters. Now everything has been thrown into the public arena.
This is the second time, these church leaders have been expelled. Their first expulsion backfired dramatically for BOT and had to be annulled quickly. This was after this reporter called the BOT chairman to get his side of the story over the first expulsion which he had authorised but he quickly backtracked and annulled the expulsion. Mwazha had also asked a one word question which the BOT vice chairman failed to answer, when he had accused Priesthood Council (PC) faction of teaching false doctrines. Mwazha just exclaimed and asked “Sei?”. Simple as it seemed, Mahachi, the BOT VC failed to answer the question. However, it seems as the so called BOT, made up of nine bishops only, out of more than 30 bishops, have regrouped and are reorganising their ranks.
Of arrests and persecution of church members
The ensuing succession dispute has caused untold damage in the church. Violence and counter violence has been witnessed. It all started with fights in Harare, during a meeting addressed by one of the BOT members, Mhizha. The fighting later spread to Manicaland where Charles Tekeshe was physically manhandled but not beaten by team BOT supporters. PC supporters immediately went on the defense, manhandling one of the BOT supporters last Saturday. They were immediately arrested. However, none of those who were violent towards the PC such as Evangelist Mandega from Harare, has been arrested, neither has there been any report by the PC.
After the second expulsion, Norman Siyamuzhombwe, one of the expelled members immediately went on the defensive, annulling the expulsion an challenging the BOT. He accused the BOT of being guilty contempt of court and jeered at them for panicking. He accused the BOT members of persecuting Paul Mwazha, suing him and acting in a mocking way towards the founder. He went on to pick on individual members of the BOT, accusing some of theft, adultery and using “zvikwambo”. The BOT vice chairman, Patrick Mahachi immediately had him arrested. This prompted an outcry from some church members who accused the BOT of persecuting the church. The church members accused the BOT of the following crimes-
- Suing the church (The TAAC is a respondent in a court case by the son of the late church chairman, Rev Mhambare)
- Disrespecting the will of the founder
- Imposing itself on the church
- Creating parallel structures
- Suing church leaders who are defending the will of the founder
- Expelling church leaders with an improperly constituted board
- Causing the arrest of church members an church leaders
Provinces immediately started to align themselves with a faction of their choice. Below is an excerpt from one church member, who gave a brief overview of how the church provinces have been divided.
- Masvingo- PC. Masvingo rejected its Bishop, Abraham Mudhenge who is aligned to the BOT, opting for their chairman Reverend Rusike
- Midlands- Reunited under its bishop, Tsveta, who is behind the PC rejecting a new bishop called Mahlangu
- Manicaland- a centre of chaos and anarchy, but firmly behind PC
- Harare west- PC
- Mashonaland South – PC
- Harare East – PC
- Matebeleland- BOT
- The remaining provinces are still to show who they are aligned to
- Botswana – BOT
- South Africa – BOT
- Britain – BOT
This uneven distribution of allegiance gives the PC massive support as it claims approximately three quarters of the individual members. This has irked the supporters of the BOT to the core whose supporters have resorted to creating Facebook accounts to rally for support. These Facebook members go under the following monikers;
- Darlington Chimimba – this account is well known for posting biased news associated with vulgar and dirty insults. However, the account seems to have access to the latest church information
- Ev Moyo – this account is well known for posting latest information which is usually true though biased towards the BOT. The account is well respected for telling some hard hitting truths against both factions
- Collen Musapingura – the silent one, who just post once in a while but is also full of vile sayings and unprecedented attacks on church members
The circus goes on. The BOT is on an overdrive to subdue the largely influential PC. The PC is now on the defensive. The BOT is unpopular with the majority of members but popular with the money laden church members. Conversely, the PC is made up of poor members of the church, believers in prophets and defenders of the radical approach taken by the church. Anyway the circus goes on. We will keep the public updated