21 January 2019

Tanzania: Court Endorses Cleric's Dismissal

THE Court of Appeal has confirmed the dismissal of Rev. Frank Mushi as Resident Pastor with the Registered Trustees of Evangelistic Assemblies of God of Tanzania (EAGT) within Moshi Municipality, Kilimanjaro Region over insubordination.

This followed the decision of Justices Augustine Mwarija, Shaban Lila and Mwanaisha Kwariko to dismiss with costs the appeal Rev. Mushi, as had lodged to fault the decision of the High Court at Moshi Registry.

"We do not find any sufficient ground to fault the decision of the High Court. In the event, the appeal is hereby dismissed in its entirety with costs," they declared in favour of the church's Registered Trustees, the respondent in the matter.

Rev. Mushi is alleged to have refused to abide by the church's Central Committee resolution to all pastors to go for further bible knowledge studies. In his defence, the appellant had alleged that he was wrongly removed from the position because going for further studies was not a mandatory requirement.

During hearing of the appeal, the appellant had contended that the High Court judge erred in law and fact by failing to hold that the District Land and Housing Tribunal at Moshi had erred in determining the dispute without due appearance or representation of the trustees.

The appellant had submitted that the High Court erred by holding that the Tribunal had pecuniary jurisdiction to determine the dispute and by affirming the decision over his dismissal from the position he was holding, while the same was not founded on evidence.

Furthermore, the appellant claimed that the High Court erred by affirming the decision which was based on a labour dispute, a fact outside the jurisdiction of the trial Tribunal.

He contended further that the High Court erred by holding that the Tribunal was right in determining the alleged service. In their judgment delivered in Arusha City recently, the justices ruled out that it was clear from the reliefs sought by the church that the matter before the Tribunal was not a labour dispute as the appellant's issue of termination came about as a cause for the respondent's application.

"The respondent sought an order of vacant possession against the appellant following termination of his service. (His) removal is evidenced by a letter dated October 2, 2007. The appellant did not dispute that fact.

He only challenged the authority of the General Secretary in taking that action," they noted. Furthermore, the justices observed that the Tribunal had not determined whether or not the General Secretary had such powers or whether or not the appellant was fairly terminated, as those were matters that are not within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.

"As it stood, therefore, the fact remained that the appellant was removed from the services of the EAGT, hence the ground upon which the Tribunal acted to grant the order of vacant possession. In their circumstances, the High Court did not err in upholding the decision of Tribunal on that point," they said.

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