High Court Judge Justice Esther Muremba last week ended the long lasting succession battle in the Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church.
The battle had ensued following the death of church founder Tadewu Mugodhi who succumbed to cancer in October 2019.
According to the papers, before his death, Tadewu had appointed his son Washington as his successor ahead of his deputy Tonny Sigauke who has also been contesting the decision.
In her findings, Justice Muremba dismissed Sigauke’s claim to the throne saying he did not have the right to represent the church.
“Tonny Sigauke cannot claim that he has authority to bring legal proceedings on behalf of the Mugodhi Apostolic when he has no control over it.
“He has brought these proceedings in an attempt to take control of the church. Under the circumstances there is therefore no way the church can be bringing the present application as the applicant.
“The church can only be a co-respondent with Washington Mugodhi who has control over it, the relief being sought by Tonny Sigauke is meant to serve his personal interests,” ruled the judge.
The judge also noted that issues of who was qualified to represent interests of the church was dealt with in a previous ruling.
“The issue of locus standi in the circumstances of the parties had already been determined by this court in case no. HC6734/19.
“This was an urgent chamber application between the same parties where this court found out that Sigauke was authorised to bring the application on behalf of the applicant.
“However, the judgment was later overturned by a Supreme Court judge. In view of the foregoing, I make a finding that the applicant has no locus standi to bring the present application.
“In the result, it is ordered that the application is dismissed,” added the judge.
In 2019, Sigauke claimed Washington’s appointment was unconstitutional preferring 105 year-old Aaron Munodawafa as the substantive leader.
He claimed as a junior pastor, Washington had no right to be appointed as church bishop ahead of other senior members.
Sigauke also claimed that a general conference held on February 20 this year, had appointed Munodawafa as the substantive church leader with him as his deputy.
However, in the same month during Mugodhi’s memorial service, Washington allegedly imposed himself as the leader causing a further rift among members.