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AN EXTRACT FROM “ THE POST”( The paper that digs deeper ) DATED 21ST NOVEMBER 2003


By Noel Sichalwe

THERE is too much politics in churches, Lusaka High Court judge Anthony Nynagulu said yesterday. Judge Nyangulu said this during the hearing of a contempt of court case in which African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church Reverend Edith Mutale and seventy (70) others are contesting their expulsion from the church.

“I don’t understand why children of God are busy quarrelling in the synagogue. This is very unfortunate indeed. There is so much politics in the church but we shall end it. God can’t be happy with the quarrels in the church,” he said. “You should ask for forgiveness all of you in here while awaiting judgment from this court.” Rev. Mutale, 55, said in her evidence led by lawyer Kelvin Bwalya that she was surprised that the church had decided to expel her together with 70 others when another case was awaiting judgment before judge Nyangulu’s court.

She said in the main case awaiting judgment, AME Bishop Williams had sued her with other church members for disobeying the doctrine of the church.

Rev Mutale said on November 5 this year, she heard on Radio Phoenix that she had been expelled from the church together with 70 others church members with immediate effect without any given reason.

She said the news item on radio stated that the expelled church members were advocating for a local indigenous leadership for the AME Church in Zambia. Rev. Mutale said later on the following day, November 6, there was another news item on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), which attribute to Rev Michael Gondwe insisting that she was expelled from the church. (1) “On the same day, I received a letter signed by Reverend Newton Masunga that was addressed to me stating that I was expelled from the church,” she said.

At this stage, AME Church lawyer Sacika Sitwala wanted to object to the tendering in as evidence the expulsion letter and the press release that was sent to the media. But judge Nyangulu told Sitwala: “We have not reached that stage of producing these documents. So shut up.”

“My lord, I would like the court to withdraw the words,’shut up’,” Sitwala demanded

“Withdrawn and let’s proceed,” judge Nyangulu responded.

Rev. Mutale further said she was a law abiding citizen who respected the court and that she decided to run to the court for protection after she was expelled from the church over an issue that was before court.

“ I did not want to take the law in my hands and that is why I have come to court for protection’”she said.

When starting cross examination, Sitwala complained that it was difficult to defend the case when he was insulted and told to shut up.

“If the court feels that I am irrelevant, I can as well sit down. We came here to seek justice, otherwise if it were not so, we could not have been here,” he said.

But judge Nyangulu assured him that he had withdrawn the words ‘shut up’.

Sitwala put it to Rev. Mutale that she had formed a splinter church while there had been elected office held from October 15 to 19 this year.

He also put it to her that Rev. Mutale’ group had even formulated a church structure and later issued a statement to the media that they had split away from the AME main church.

But Rev. Mutale denied ever forming a splinter church and that they only had an interim committee that formulated a dream structure of the church that would be led by an indigenous Bishop from Zambia.

“ We are only a committee advocating for an indigenous Bishop and not a splinter church as reported in the Times of Zambia. I phoned Times of Zambia to clarify their story but they had not done it. I am now consulting with my fellow committee members on the next course of action to take against the newspaper,” she said.

Rev. Mutale said she was a pastor of Ebenezer church and was appointed by the church board and contrary to the stipulated church Constitution. Hearing continues on December 11.

Circulated by Rev Royd Mwandu - royd.mwandu@kcm.co.zm

-- Anonymous, November 21, 2003

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