THE High Court has dismissed an urgent chamber application filed by some members of the Apostolic Faith Mission of Africa (AFM) seeking an interdict order to be allowed to continue worshipping at the church’s premises in Lobengula Extension, Bulawayo, although they have challenged the recent appointment of Rosewell Zulu as church president.

Claudius Manamela and Brighton Nanga had been barred from attending church services pending the court’s determination on their application for Zulu’s removal as church leader.

Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Lawrence Kamocha dismissed their latest application, and urged them to brace for a fully-fledged long trial.

“This matter appears to have apparent numerous disputes of facts about the ownership of the church. These can only be settled through a fully-fledged long trial. The applicants should prepare themselves for such contest in court,” Kamocha ruled.

“Those, who resort to violence, should be prosecuted for the offences they allegedly committed and should be punished accordingly. Accordingly, this matter does not deserve to jump the queue and is, hereby, dismissed.”

In his founding affidavit, Manamela cited Zulu, AFM, and the police officer commanding Bulawayo province as respondents.

He submitted that on January 29, 2017, some members of the church, who purported to be Zulu’s agents, approached him and Nanga accusing them of filing a chamber application against the church leader.

“They assaulted me together with second applicant (Nanga) with bare hands and feet and forced me out of the church premises,” Manamela submitted. “I made a report at Njube Police Station and they indicated they cannot intervene.

There is no prejudice if the first respondent (Zulu) and his followers are interdicted from barring or blocking me because he may still do so if he wins the case under cover HC266/17, yet if I am barred or blocked now, I stand to suffer irreparable harm in that I loose fellowshipping because Christianity is about attending church services on scheduled time and participating in some church activities.”

The two prayed for the court to stop Zulu and his followers from barring them from entering the church’s premises, threatening or assaulting them. They also asked for an order compelling the police to arrest and detain any member, who commits or threatens violence on them.

Responding to their application, Zulu said the two were not members of his church, hence, had no right to seek his removal or to claim to have been banned from attending church.

In their earlier application, the duo claimed Zulu was unconstitutionally appointed. Zulu was appointed as leader of the church following the death of Tony Tshuma.