A HIGHT Court judge has recused himself from another African Apostolic Church (Mwazha) wrangle after the founder Paul Mwazha’s sons, who allegedly attempted to usurp the church’s leadership, questioned his impartiality.
The African Apostolic Church had lodged an urgent chamber application asking the court to stop Mwazha’s sons, Alfred Kushamisa, Ngoni Edward and James, together with five others, from holding an Easter Conference at the Guvambwa Shrine at Sadza Growth Point in Chikomba District.
In response to the application, Alfred et al made a counter application asking Justice Rogers Manyangadze to recuse himself from hearing the interdict application.
They also applied that he recuse himself again from another matter brought by the Mwazha sect in which it sought the court to stop Alfred and his siblings from constructing anything at the shrine.
“The respondents are apprehensive that I have adopted a position already on those issues, and may not be persuaded otherwise. Suffice to note that a perception has possibly been created, in the minds of the respondents or any persons following the proceedings, that the judge will not conduct such proceedings with an open mind.
“In the circumstances, it is my considered view that it is in the interests of justice that I recuse myself from this matter. As I have already indicated, since the facts are similar to those in HC 537/22, my recusal also extends to that case,” said Manyangadze.
The judge had previously granted a provisional order instructing Alfred and his partners to stop holding meetings at Ndarikure Shrine in Gweru in another urgent chamber application in October last year.
It was on the basis of the ruling that the Mwazha siblings made their recusal application.
“The application for recusal emanates from my disposal of the urgent chamber application in October 2021.I dismissed some points in limine raised by the respondents. The points were, inter alia, that the first applicant was not properly before the courts and that the matter was not urgent.
“The respondents have raised the same points in both HC537/22 and 1102/22. They aver that the judge, having disposed of these points will not appear to be impartial,” said the judge.
The African Apostolic Church was involved in a leadership battle that ended up in the courtroom last year.
As a result, the Supreme Court nullified the appointment of Alfred as the leader of the church after it found that his then 102 year old father was still the rightful leader.