THE fight for control of one of the country’s oldest apostolic churches — the Archbishop Paul Mwazha-led African Apostolic Church — has turned nasty after a church leader’s vehicle was burnt to ashes in Mutare on Sunday.

The latest episode comes amid stunning revelations that another faction has emerged.

The African Apostolic Church now has three factions, with each one of them led by the inactive elderly Archbishop’s sons.

On Sunday, Bishop Tekeshe’s Isuzu truck was burnt to ashes at his Fern Valley home in an incident that has been attributed by insiders to the endless disputes over control of the church.

Bishop Tekeshe is aligned to Bishop Alfred Kushamisa, the Archbishop’s second born son, although his allegiance is now under scrutiny.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Bishop Tekeshe were fruitless as all his three mobile phone numbers were unreachable.

When contacted for comment, one of the other faction’s leaders, Bishop Moses Mwagura said as Christians, they can do better.

“This issue is very clear and you should not have challenges in reporting it. It all started with some people trying to wrestle control of the church from Mutumwa Mwazha. They were later defeated at the Supreme Court after it was ruled that their actions were unconstitutional.

“Now, as time is progressing, we are now witnessing a division between Ngoni, Archbishop Paul Mwazha’s first born son and his second born son, Alfred Kushamisa, known as AK.

‘‘They are now up against each other, leading to the nasty destruction of property. This has nothing to with our church. We are actually concerned that this is happening to people we used to congregate with.

“This is not what we would have expected from people who claim to be Christians and who follow the peaceful word of our Lord,” said Bishop Mwagura.

When the divisions started in the Africa Apostolic Church, the faction led by Bishop Alfred Kushamisa Mwazha believed that he was the one anointed as the church leader’s successor.

This was strongly contested by the other faction which argued that the Archbishop’s last born son — Bishop Tawanda Mwazha — was the rightful heir to the church’s leader.

However, the Bishop Alfred Kushamisa-led faction seemed to have gained traction when the Archbishop’s first born son, Bishop Ngoni Mwazha returned to the African Apostolic Church to join his bloc after spending years at a different apostolic sect.

Nevertheless, latest developments in the church indicate that Bishop Ngoni has dumped Bishop Alfred Kushamisa and has since started his own faction, which now becomes the third.

The divisions, which are not only felt in Zimbabwe but in neighbouring South Africa and Botswana, have seen the formations appointing their own pastors and leaders while conducting services at different places of worship.

As divisions persist in the church, it is understood that the fights go deeper than the leadership issue, with prayer methods also being part of disharmony.

For example, long and personal prayers, widely known within the church as “tsindondi”, have been a source of disharmony, with a section of the church insisting on pre-written and recited prayers.

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