In the aftermath of the August 2016 tense Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), Reverend Timothy Nyasulu and eight others have launched a court battle against the synod’s leadership.
The applicants are challenging the election of Reverend Levi Nyondo and other office bearers at the assembly they have described as unconstitutional, further calling for an emergency elective general assembly.
They further fault the synod’s Moderator, John Gondwe, who is the first defendant [alongside the nine) for failing to call for a special meeting of the synod to resolve disputes that ensued within the synod regarding the limit of term of office for the General Secretary and Vice-General Secretary, positions being held by Nyondo and Reverend Joseph Mwale respectively.
In the interim, the nine have obtained an injunction that removes all the elected office bearers at the synod’s secretariat until a court’s determination on the matter.
“…order that the 7th defendant (CCAP Livingstonia Synod) does not appoint caretaker General Secretary ,Moderator-elect, Deputy General Secretary and two members pending the resolutions at the emergency meeting for the synod,” reads the summons in part.
One of the applicants, Reverend Clifford Baloyi, said in an interview Nyondo and team took advantage of the silence of the synod’s constitution on the limit of terms of office for elected positions and manipulated delegates to the AGA which saw him [Nyondo] succeed in his third term bid.
“In 2014, a policy was adopted by the synod that the GS and his deputy will serve a maximum of two consecutive terms and that at the end of the two terms the incumbents will not be eligible for re-election, so you can see that the church policy was flouted and even the constitution because there have no amendments,” Baloyi said.
Baloyi, who is also commissioner for the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), said the synod secretariat have not been cooperative.
“Issues of elections are legal and now that in-house procedures have not been yielding [results] it is better for the court to come in. Even Jesus sidestepped his spiritual mandate and beat people in the synagogue when they went to the extreme with their disobedience,” he added.
When contacted, one of the defendants, Reverend Douglas Chipofya, who was elected as moderator, referred us to GS Nyondo, saying he was yet to see the summons.
But Nyondo and the synod’s legal counsel, Victor Gondwe, could not pick their mobile phones on several attempts.
In a related development, reverends Nyasulu and Baloyi and church elder Spencer Mhone are claiming damages for defamation from Nyondo and eight other men of the collar for claiming that Nyasulu’s campaign prior to the Loudon assembly was sponsored by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
Meanwhile, the court has set June 15 2017 for hearing of the first case.
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