Tanzania: Pentecostal Church’s Leadership Dispute Taken to Court

(By Faustine Kapama)-THE Registered Trustees of Kanisa la Elim Pentecoste Tanzania has taken to court its bishop, Manaseh Martin and two pastors, Tito Tunda and Jarome Andrea, seeking orders sanctifying removal from their respective posts for allegedly going against the church’s constitution.

In the suit, the trustees are asking the court to compel the trio defendants to return bank cheque books, a motor vehicle and other properties of the church which are under their custody and they should be ordered to pay 40m/- in damages arising from loss incurred during disturbances, among others.

The case was set for hearing last Friday before Senior Resident Magistrate Binge Mashabara at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam, but the session could not be held because it was Idd el-Fitr when Muslims all over the world marked and celebrated the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to the plaint of the suit lodged by Kings Law Chambers on November 25, 2011, the church’s registered trustees removed Bishop Manaseh from office with immediate effect allegedly due to bad conduct, immoral behaviour and indiscipline, contrary to the teachings of the church.

“The first defendant (Bishop Manaseh) was ordered not to do anything concerning the activities of the plaintiff (Registered Trustees of Kanisa la Elim Pentecoste Tanzania)” reads the plaint in part, adding that the bishop was also barred from conducting any diocesan meetings.

It is stated further that both Tunda and Andrea were ordered by the plaintiff not to conduct any diocesan meeting and subsequently terminated their tenure as pastors due to the alleged misconduct against the church’s teachings.

The removal of the bishop from membership of the church and episcopal seat and subsequent sacking of the two pastors from their posts, it is alleged further in the plaint of the suit, were in accordance with the church’s constitution.

However, the defendants, through their advocate Augustino Ndomba, refuted some of the allegations in a written statement of defence and request the court to dismiss the suit in its entirety with costs.

They state that, save for the “unlawful termination of their respective spiritual services from the church and their unlawful prohibition to conduct any church’s activities, the rest of the facts are vehemently contested.”

“The defendants further contend that the plaintiff, when purporting to terminate them from their spiritual services in the church, violated the constitution of the church and the principle of natural justice,” the written statement of defence further states.

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