Attorney General representing Registrar of Societies is likely to be dragged in a case which members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) are challenging the church’s failure to live up to its constitutional demands.
New interlocutory application by one of the Church lawyers Jost Isaacs was filed before Justice Michael Mothobi last Friday, challenging the authenticity of the ZCC constitution.
ZCC lawyer in his interlocutory application brings the issue of the authenticity of the ZCC constitution. The lawyer says the constitution that is currently being challenged by ten members of the Zion Church is invalid.
The lawyer also indicated in his papers that the church is currently governed by two constitutions of 1994 and 2009. He came to court challenging the 2009 constitution which bears the stamp of the Registrar of Societies. Hence the reason why Attorney General is likely to be dragged into the case if the interlocutory application succeeds.
The interlocutory application is expected to be heard on April 19th. The church has also been afforded opportunity to reply to Isaacs submissions.
Speaking to The Telegraph shortly after the case, Uyapo Ndadi of Ndadi law firm who is also attorney for the ten ZCC members challenging the church’s failure to live up to its constitutional demands said he was in court to argue points of law of the initial case.
“The respondents have not yet filed their heads, and opportunistically for them there was an interlocutory application in which an interested lawyer at the same church says panel of lawyers at ZCC refused his input. They disregarded his view on how the case should be conducted,” said Ndadi.
Ndadi said the lawyer himself came to court to demand to be included in the already existing case as a friend of court because he wanted to help the court with evidence that he knows of.
“He is basically taking the fights of the panel of lawyers at ZCC to court, so now the court has agreed to listen to his application on the 19th to hear his submissions” said Ndadi.
Meanwhile Ndadi and his clients opposed the interlocutory application saying the panel of lawyers’ fights at ZCC leadership has nothing to do with his clients and their case. He said there are other routes which the lawyer can bring his case where the Registrar of Societies would defend the authenticity of the ZCC constitution because it bears Registrar of Societies stamp.
The initial case has stopped while the court will first deal with the interlocutory application.
“The first thing that the court has to deal with is whether this new application can be admitted or not. Does what he has said in his affidavit entitle him to be a friend of court or not. We have raised points of law to say no he shouldn’t be admitted as the friend of the court because he is basically a member of the ZCC and he should be covered by the interest of the ZCC. If he is aggrieved by the ZCC lawyers’ decision to refuse his input then he should sue his lawyers and the church on a new application not joining the existing one,” said Ndadi.
Ndadi emphasized that his clients’ application has nothing to do with whether the lawyers’ advice was admitted by the panel of lawyers at ZCC or not.
“We now have to deal with the ZCC leadership fights. Now is the legality of the constitution brought by church lawyers. My clients are starting to question the credibility of the Church leadership if they are going to question the same constitution governing the church. That’s a serious red flag for governance, how can you have two constitutions governing one church,” said Ndadi.
The interlocutory application means the initial application stops until the court determines whether Isaacs can be admitted as a friend of court.