An archbishop’s sex scandal that turned political

Reading time 3 min.

A case which is currently before the courts in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second capital could easily find a place in the Guinness Book of records for the highest amount ever demanded in a case of adultery.

The man expected to cough up the gargantuan amount – even by current Zimbabwean standards – is a clergyman who of his own admission failed to resist temptation while in the presence of another man’s wife.

As Zimbabweans were gripped with election fever ahead of Saturday’s elections, the aggrieved man sued controversial cleric, Bishop Pius Ncube, for alleged adultery with his wife quietly increased damages against the defrocked cleric to $5 trillion.

News of the alleged adulterous relationship between Ncube and Rosemary Sibanda made international headlines last July and has dominated newspaper headlines both at home and abroad.

With the hotly contested elections capturing the imagination of the country, media focus was on the March 29 polls in which the electorate voted for a new president, senators, House of Assembly and local government representatives. Ncube was set to influence the outcome of Saturday’s plebiscite were it not for the lapse that cost him his elevated status in and out of Zimbabwe.

Official results released so far indicate that the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai won 99 of the contested seats beating Zanu-PF to second place with 97. Were Ncube still a force to reckon with Tsvangirai’s pickings would have been less, especially in Bulawayo.

Onesimus Sibanda, Rosemary’s estranged husband, last Wednesday filed a notice of amendment at the Bulawayo High Court with a view to increasing the quantum of damages from $20 billion to a staggering $ 5 trillion, apparently in keeping with inflation.

Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga, Onesimus Sibanda’s lawyer, said in papers presented before the court that his client wanted to amend the figures for damages, contumelia and consortium.

“Take note that at the hearing of this matter, plaintiff will apply to amend his summons and Declaration and Notice of Amendment filed of record on the 27th of July as follows; by deletion of the sum of $ 20 billion wherever it appears in the pleadings and substitution thereof with the sum of $5 trillion. By deletion of the sum of $120 billion wherever they appear in the pleadings and substitution of the same with the sum of $ 2,5 trillion respectively.”

Ncube who is at The Vatican was one of Robert Mugabe’s most strident critics.

However, in July last year, private investigators, acting with the apparent
assistance of the much dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), secretly filmed the cleric while frolicking in bed with gay abandon with Rosemary, who then provided details of a steamy affair to the press.

The images were then splashed in local and foreign news outlets after
pro-establishment reporter, Supa Mandiwanzira, confronted the hapless bishop with the damning evidence.

A stunned nation was quick to dismiss the whole operation as a daring sting operation by government to hit back at Ncube.

Two months later, Ncube resigned from his post as Archbishop in charge of the Roman Catholic Church in Bulawayo.

Soon after the alleged adultery case emerged, Onesimus sued Ncube and demanded $20 billion in damages.

Ncube has since admitted to having been involved in the adulterous relationship with Rosemary.

As he was about to leave Zimbabwe for The Vatican, Ncube was filmed while admitting to Frontier TV, an independent film Production Company and apologising for the illicit relationship.

“It is true,” he said, “I do admit that I did fail in keeping God’s commandment with regard to adultery.

“Having failed in keeping the Seventh Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ I would like to apologise to you, I would like to apologise that so many of you were praying for me, for the fact that so many of you standing with me suffered so much.”

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