Zimbabwe’s AFM factions at war again

16 Jun, 2021 - 11:06 0 Views
Zimbabwe’s AFM factions at war again The two are now inscribed as Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe led by Amon Madawo and Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe led by Cossam Chiangwa

H-Metro

Mathew Masinge, H-Metro Reporter

AFM’s break away groups are back again in court fighting over using the same name and logo.

The two are now inscribed as Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe led by Amon Madawo and Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe led by Cossam Chiangwa.

Following a recent Supreme Court ruling, Reverend Chiangwa and crew who lost a Supreme Court battle, reconstituted themselves before indicating that they were still aligned to the 34 member states AFM International.

The religious group went on to announce their new church name, Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe on June 6, bearing the same logo with a cross, a crown and a shining sun.

According to an urgent chamber application filed at the High Court, reverend Madawo’s camp claims the more than 100 years old church had a reputation in the country and having another congregation with a name and logo associated with theirs is a total misrepresentation and immaterial.

Madawo argues that use of the prepositions ‘in’ and ‘of’ by the two groups might cause injury and confuse followers to mean the same.

“The present application has been brought on an urgent basis to temporarily interdict AFM of Zimbabwe from performing certain actions.

“The temporary interdict is sought to interdict the church; from using a logo that is identical and /or similar to the AFM in Zimbabwe’s registered trademark number 1584/2012, registered on 20 November 2012 in class 45 under 15 in respect of church meetings and gatherings…

Reverend Amon Madawo argues that the use of the prepositions ‘in’ and ‘of’ by the two groups might cause injury and confuse followers to mean the same.

“From using the name ‘Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe’ which is similar to the applicant’s name ‘Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe’.

“The use of the former amounts to a misrepresentation that is likely to mislead the public and the AFM in Zimbabwe’s congregants into believing that its church is similar to that of AFM of Zimbabwe,” reads Madawo’s founding affidavit.

Prior to the urgent chamber application, Madawo’s camp had written a cease and desist letter to Chiangwa’s camp to which the latter allegedly failed and neglected to respond to.

“It is necessary that the present matter be heard on an urgent basis to temporarily interdict the AFM of Zimbabwe from infringing the AFM in Zimbabwe’s trademark and name pending the determination, on the return date, on whether a final interdict can be granted against AFM of Zimbabwe,” reads the papers.

Reverend Madawo also claims AFM in Zimbabwe’s affiliation to its international body has been challenged.

“It is also important to address the misconception by AFM of Zimbabwe concerning the ownership of the registered trademark and the name Apostolic Faith Mission.

“In the press statement, AFM of Zimbabwe’s position is that ‘we are still part of AFM International and hence we can still use the logo…’.

“The membership of AFM in Zimbabwe to the Apostolic Faith Mission International is challenged,” reads the papers.

Madawo added;

“In any event, the Apostolic Faith Mission International does not have a registered trademark in Zimbabwe, the trademark is registered in the name of AFM in Zimbabwe.

“This shows that the AFM of Zimbabwe’s attempt to place reliance on being affiliated to AFM International is misplaced.”

The church further claims that it is likely to suffer harm due to the similarities misrepresentation.

“The use of the name AFM of Zimbabwe will thus mislead the AFM in Zimbabwe’s congregants and members of the public who refer the church as AFM church without paying too much attention on the full name of the church.

“…it does not trade like a business but its activities stand to be adversely associated by unlawful activities of the AFM of Zimbabwe as the member of the AFM in Zimbabwe and other members of the public can be misled as to the identity of AFM in Zimbabwe,” wrote Madawo.

AFM in Zimbabwe is one of the largest Pentecostal churches in the country with an estimated membership of 2.3 million people from its 780 assemblies.

Reverend Cossam Chiangwa is yet to respond

The church was formed on May 25, 1908 at a conference at Doomfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa before its first local assembly was also founded in Gwanda around 1915.

The newly formed AFM of Zimbabwe and its leader reverend Chiangwa are yet to respond.

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