A sex scandal has rocked the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ)’s Pamushana congregation in Nyika, where Reverend Menard Zvenyika is said to have indulged in an extra-marital affair and impregnated his housemaid.

The issue has 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, Rose Nyamushaya (36), twice and induced her to abort the pregnancies.

Nyamushaya 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 Nyamushaya’s affidavit commissioned by the ZRP on April 23 this year, she started the sexual relationship with Rev Zvenyika sometime in December 2007.

Nyamushaya said the affair came about when she told Rev Zvenyika’s wife that her (Nyamushaya’s) husband had been bewitched and had become sexually impotent, a situation which was now threatening her marriage.

She said Rev Zvenyika’s wife confided in her husband who in turn offered to help, resulting in the extra-marital affair.

Nyamushaya 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,” Nyamushaya said.

She further said several meetings were held after she reported the matter to the elders and present at the meetings were Reverends Juro, Mhuru, Hapazari, Mhuruyengwe, Runyowa, and Zvenyika together with other church members.

RCZ secretary-general Rev Runyowa could neither deny nor confirm the matter.

“I cannot talk to you over the phone, I do not operate that way. If you want to ask any questions, you have to visit my office,” Rev Runyowa said and hung up his phone.

Another RCZ pastor who at one point was present when the matter was deliberated upon early this year, Rev Rutoro, said: “That’s a family issue, the lady claimed she was pregnant and the tests were conducted and came out negative. There are forces behind the whole issue, we are not protecting the pastor, but the woman’s family have since taken the matter to the chief and it’s now a question of tarnishing one’s image.”

The church elders who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity showed the paper a petition which had been written to RCZ moderator over the sex scandal.

“As a matter of urgency, please kindly reinstitute a new team of investigators who are honest, reliable, God-fearing and who are drawn from all the other bodies of the church to bring a balance. A team dominated by ministers of religion has proved problematic,” the elders said.