Zimbabwe: Christ Ministries Wrangle Spills Into Court

24 September 2021

A boardroom wrangle between the two sons of the late Christ Ministries Church founder, Bishop Cuthbert Makoni' and some members of the board of trustees has spilled into the High Court.

Makoni, the founder of one of the country's first post-Independence indigenous churches, died in December 2017 and his surviving spouse Rev Leddie Makoni took over.

A year before his death, former Secretary for Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, Dr Stephen Mahere, Dr Godfrey Kanyenze and Elvis Chikiwa were co-opted as Christ Ministries Church of Zimbabwe trustees.

The trust, founded by the Makoni family, is also in the business of schools, social welfare and medical services.

Since the death of Bishop Makoni, his two sons Collin and Eustace Makoni have been embroiled in a tug-of-war with the Trust over the inclusion of the trio.

Now the sons have approached the High Court challenging the inclusion of Dr Mahere, Dr Kanyenze and Chikiwa on the board of trustees, arguing their appointment was done without their consent, as the founding trustees.

Other members of the board of trustees include, Leddie, Auxilia, Julien, Blessing and Innocent Makoni who are also listed as co-respondents in the civil suit filed at the High Court this week.

The two brothers are asking the court for a declaratory order invalidating the 2016 appointments while all decisions, resolutions and meetings conducted by the board in the attendance of Dr Mahere, Dr Kanyenze and Chikiwa should be declared a nullity.

They also want the court to grant an order for a properly constituted meeting where all trustees will attend and deal with the issues relating to the board of trustees and activities of the Trust within seven days of the court order.

Dr Mahere along with Dr Kanyenze and Chikiwa were co-opted by way of an amended Notarial Deed of Trust in November 2016.

In terms of Clause 5(c), the Trustees were allowed to co-opt such other persons or persons as they may deem necessary to the Board of Trustees for a specified period from time to time. But Clause 15 of the original Notarial Deed of Trust, such decisions could only be sanctioned by way of the unanimous resolution of all the Trustees.

To this end, the two brothers want to set aside the "unprocedural" co-opting and appointment of three trustees on the basis that these appointments are null and void and in violation of the enabling provisions of the trust deed.

Collin and Eustace have also filed a separate claim in which they are seeking the intervention of the court to compel the Trust to pay them their emoluments as provided for in Trust Deed.

The respondents are yet to file their response to the two claims.

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