A REFORMED Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ) senior pastor in Masvingo, Reverend Menard Zvenyika, allegedly committed suicide by drinking poison, minutes before he attended a disciplinary hearing over allegations of adultery.
Rev Zvenyika allegedly committed suicide on Thursday afternoon at Pamushana High School in Bikita in the principal’s lorry. The reverend was in February slapped with a $10,000 adultery lawsuit by a member of the church.
He was accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with the church member’s wife.
Rev Zvenyika, who was married, allegedly impregnated the woman thrice and reportedly forced her to have an abortion each time.
Sources close to the church said Zvenyika was supposed to be waiting outside the principal’s office for his case to be heard, but there was a delay.
“Zvenyika was supposed to appear before a church’s disciplinary committee over allegations of engaging in extra-marital affairs with married women in the church. However, the meeting had to be delayed as the same members who were supposed to preside over the case were preoccupied with the recruitment exercise for a doctor,” said a senior church member who refused to be named.
He said after Rev Zvenyika was told to wait he went into the principal’s lorry parked within the school premises.
Church members said they suspected he chose to kill himself in the vehicle to “fix” the principal as there was a history of bad blood between the two.
“When the recruitment exercise was complete, everyone was ready for the disciplinary hearing. One of the members went to call Pastor Zvenyika who was sitting in a lorry. The person was taken aback to find out that Pastor Zvenyika could neither talk nor move. He was already frothing from the mouth. There was an acrid smell in the vehicle. We tried to resuscitate him but no avail. He was already dead and we suspect he took poison,” said the source.
Acting Masvingo police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nkululeko Nduna could neither confirm nor deny the incident when reached for comment yesterday. “That is not to our knowledge. I am not in the office at the present moment,” said Nduna in a telephone interview.
The adultery case that Zvenyika was facing had spilled into the courts with the husband to the reverend’s girlfriend saying that due to the two’s alleged philandering; there was no longer compatibility between him and his wife.
The woman was employed by Zvenyika as a housemaid at his house for about five years and during the years the pair allegedly engaged in sexual relations. It is further alleged that she was forced to terminate three pregnancies belonging to the pastor.
The man, Chezhira Chikobvu, 42, and Rosemary Nyamukachi, 35, have been customarily married for 17 years.
Another source said Zvenyika was under intense pressure due to his adultery case and indications were that he was to be defrocked for bringing the RCZ into disrepute.
“The pastor was facing serious allegations and there was great likelihood that he was going to be excommunicated, had he attended the disciplinary hearing. Unfortunately, he decided to prematurely end his life and I shudder to think that he failed to swallow his pride,” added another senior member who asked not to be named.
The church moderator Reverend Dr Rangarirai Rutoro confirmed the incident.
“While I can confirm the death, I cannot confirm the circumstances. Let us leave it to the relatives. We know that the media can inflict pain to the bereaved and I don’t want to say anything that can find me on the wrong side by pre-empting what relatives should say,” said Dr Rutoro.