The African Apostolic Church (VaApostora veAfrica) has revealed that the founder, Archbishop Paul Mwazha (102), popularly known as Mudzidzisi, who is one of the pioneers of indigenous churches in Zimbabwe, will remain the leader and his successor will be named and appointed within the confines of the church doctrine and constitution.
This follows a High Court judgment this week which nullified the appointment of Archbishop Mwazha's son Bishop Alfred Kushamisa Mwazha as the leader and successor.
The church representatives yesterday confirmed that they did not recognise decisions, appointments and actions taken by Bishop Alfred Mwazha in his purported capacity as the head of the church.
Archbishop Mwazha's family was in May involved in an altercation over the succession of the religious leader, resulting in one of the church members, Reverend Ernest Mhambare, instituting legal proceedings regarding succession.
Addressing journalists yesterday, African Apostolic Church press secretary, Reverend Wilson Rutsate, said the group, which was led by Bishop Alfred Mwazha, was acting against the constitution of the church which clearly spelt out that during the lifetime of Archbishop Mwazha, he will be the leader of the church.
"There were events where this group had gone ahead to proclaim Bishop Alfred Mwazha as archbishop and gone ahead to mislead the leaders of the nation and other Government officials that this was the situation obtaining in the church," he said.
"This group was basing its claim on a note by Evangelist Kasima which he claimed had been dictated by Archbishop Mwazha. Using the expedience of this note, Bishop Alfred Mwazha had usurped the powers and functions of Archbishop Mwazha and proceeded to install himself as the leader contrary to the constitution and will of Archbishop Mwazha who is our spiritual leader and radar."
Rev Rutsote said no member of the church, leader or even a son to Archbishop Mwazha could seek to have a position more elevated than that of the Archbishop, whom he said was given a vision to recreate Africa.
Rev Rutsate said the High Court judgment delivered by Justice Chitapi had brought clarity and direction to the dispute.
"Any decisions appointments and actions taken by Bishop Alfred Mwazha in his purported capacity as the head of the church are of no force or effect," he said.
"With regard to the advanced age of the Archbishop and some of the health challenges he has been having like any natural man of his age, the court has directed respondents to adhere to section 9.2.2 of the constitution which clearly states the role of the Priesthood Council.
"As it stands, it is clear as crystal that the leader of the church at present is still and has always been Archbishop Mwazha. We ask our members to remain united.
"Our Archbishop Ernest Paul Mwamvura Mwazha, a man whose vision, anointing and leadership is without question remains the leader of the African Apostolic Church.
"As and when a successor is named and appointed, it shall be done within the confirms of the church doctrine and constitution."