A Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ) senior pastor in-charge at Pamushana Mission in Bikita, allegedly committed suicide on Thursday by drinking poison after being summoned to appear before a church hearing over an adultery case, among other charges.
Rev Menard Zvenyika, was allegedly found dead in a lorry parked at the mission in the afternoon. It is believed the lorry belongs to Pamushana High School headmaster Mr Johnson Madhuku.
Mr Madhuku could not be reached for comment.
Acting Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nkululeko Nduna, said he had not received the report last night.
However, moderator of the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe, Reverend Rangarira Rutoro, confirmed Rev Zvenyika's death.
Rev Rutoro, however, refused to shed light on the cause of the clergyman's death.
"I have not yet spoken to his (Rev Zvenyika) family so I do not have any details about how he died, please forgive me, I am also down and devastated by this death that I cannot say anything to you at the moment," said Rev Rutoro.
However, sources within the church who spoke to My Zimbabwe News alleged that the now deceased Rev Zvenyika reportedly indulged in an extra-marital affair and impregnated his housemaid.
Before committing suicide, the issue had become so intense to the extent that the church's elders have accused the RCZ leadership of attempting to downplay the scandal, after it emerged that the man of cloth impregnated a village woman, Rosemary Nyamukachi (37), twice and induced her to abort the pregnancies.
Nyamukachi said she had decided to spill the beans after realising that her lover, Rev Zvenyika, had turned against her despite a three-year-long relationship and had further reneged on his promise to pay her $3 000 to keep her mouth shut.
According to Nyamukachi’s affidavit commissioned by the ZRP on April 23 last year, she started the sexual relationship with Rev Zvenyika sometime in December 2007.
Nyamukachi said her initial sexual encounter with Rev Zvenyika was at a Devure hideout followed by another at Roy Farm and later on his matrimonial bedroom, guest room, office, in the fields and in his car.
"I got pregnant in 2010 and 2011 and when I told him he replied that he risked being fired by the church if this was to be known. One day he brought me some liquid in a bottle and ordered me to drink it. I drank the liquid and it was then that he told me that it was a concoction meant to induce abortion," Nyamukachi said.
Rosemary Nyamukachi has been customarily married to Chezhira Mukobvu for the past 17 years. Nyamukachi told her husband that she had sexual intercourse with Zvenyika on several occasions during the subsistence of their adulterous affair.
When Mukobvu discovered the illicit affair, Nyamukachi allegedly deserted their matrimonial homestead near Pamushana High School and relocated to Harare leaving behind her husband and children. The cheated man then sued the pastor for a whooping US$10,000 lawsuit which is believed to have contributed to the pastor deciding to commit suicide.