Clerics in court over church leadership

A leader of Victory Churches of Rwanda (VCOR) has dragged four of his colleagues to the High Court in Kigali, asking to be declared the recognised head.

A leader of Victory Churches of Rwanda (VCOR) has dragged four of his colleagues to the High Court in Kigali, asking to be declared the recognised head.

Pastor Ndimubanzi Mahangayiko Lazare, who claims to be the recognised representative of Victory Churches of Rwanda, filed the case in the High Court after he lost a previous case in the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court in May 2011.

The Nyarugenge court had ruled that he illicitly imposed himself on the church leadership.

However, during yesterday’s hearing, Pastor Ndimubanzi argued that he is the recognised leader voted by the church’s general assembly on February 2010, after the other committee had ended a legitimate five-year term.

He said moreover, the accused were serving in another church called Victory Churches International.

The prosecution, which was brought by court to have a say over the validity of the appeal, said the plaintiff was supposed to file his case through prosecution, but he chose to bypass this procedure.

Challenging claims

Prosecution avers that Pastor Ndimubanzi, who claims to be the pioneer of victory churches in Rwanda, was previously named treasurer and accepted to respect the legal representative of the church Joseph Ongemwanza Kamanza.

On the accused serving in another church, the prosecution said this did not happen because Victory Church International is not a new church, but a Canadian-based church, which sponsors Victory Churches of Rwanda.

“The appeal of Ndimubanzi cannot be received because, not only it’s not valid, but also Ndimubanzi has no statute allowing him to represent Victory Churches of Rwanda,” said the prosecutor.

The court heard that the dispute is seven years old. The ruling has been scheduled for March 28.

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