Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ) Reverend Menard Zvenyika who committed suicide over a week ago at Pamushana Mission in Bikita, could have taken his life out of shame after being slapped with a three-year suspension from the church over adultery charges.
The Standard learnt that Zvenyika had been ordered by the church leadership to vacate his Pamushana church accommodation within three days after the pronouncement of the suspension in Masvingo, a day before he took his life.
Zvenyika was suspended by the Church’s Moderature after being found guilty of adultery with a married woman, Rosemary Nyamukachi, whose husband; Chezhira Mukobvu had slapped the reverend with a US$10 000 lawsuit.
Sources said the late reverend had received news that the lawsuit had succeeded and that he was in a quandary how to raise the money to pay Mukobvu, a villager near Pamushana.
Zvenyika was also said to have been embroiled in a long-standing rivalry with Pamushana headmaster Johnson Madhuku over the control and administration of the school, particularly on financial matters. He was demanding to authorise every expenditure by the school.
As if to confirm the assertion, Zvenyika died in Madhuku’s personal vehicle after taking poison.
Zvenyika left a five-page suicide note in which he made damning allegations against several people, including teachers at the Reformed Church-run mission school, the church’s national leadership and various other people.
A Masvingo Magistrate Court was due to deliver judgement on the US$10 000 adultery lawsuit on the day he took his life. But informed sources told The Standard, Zvenyika had been warned by his lawyers that his chances of succeeding in the matter were slim.
“He was very stressed following the suspension. He was ashamed to be suspended and thrown out of the church property. On the other hand, his wife was angry about his behaviour that would result in financial difficulties and bring shame to the family,” a source close to the developments told The Standard.
At his burial in Mazare resettlement area, near Masvingo where he had a plot, the situation almost went out of hand after the family read the five-page suicide note in which he blamed several people for causing his death.
Some teachers from Pamushana High School who had attended the funeral but were implicated in the letter had to flee for their lives after Zvenyika’s relatives had mobilised, baying for their blood.
Zvenyika accused Madhuku of misappropriating school funds but evidence to support his claims could not be found despite the engagement of several external auditors.
He also accused the church leadership of plotting his downfall for allegedly resisting the advent of Pentecostalism in the church, among several other issues.
But sources close to the developments said the allegations made against many people in his suicide note could have been created simply to defend himself and justify his suicide.
“The truth is that Zvenyika simply could not face the world after the suspension over his alleged adulterous relationship with his married housemaid,” said an elderly villager at Pamushana.
Nyamukachi is said to have furnished the court with evidence of money deposited into her account by Zvenyika to coerce her to conceal the illicit affair and to get her to agree to terminate two pregnancies.
The evidence included bank deposit slips of US$700, although she said the reverend had promised to pay her US$3 000. Zvenyika is also reported to have started building a house for Nyamukachi at her Bikita home to buy her silence over the relationship.
Nyamukachi said she decided to expose him after he renegaded on his promise. In an affidavit deposed with the police on April 23 2013, Nyamukachi claimed that she started the s*xual relationship with Zvenyika around December 2007.
“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.
Before Zvenyika committed suicide, the issue of his alleged adulterous relationship had become commonplace and church elders accused the RCZ leadership of attempting to protect him by covering up the scandal.
Three weeks ago, the church sent another team to Pamushana to investigate the matter and it is said the committee had found the pastor guilty, leading to the verdict to suspend him for three years.
But his plight could have been compounded by the likelihood of a negative court verdict in the adultery suit slapped upon him by Nyamukachi’s husband.
Source: The Standard