Adultery claims against archbishop remain unproven

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – A man who has charged Zimbabwean Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo with adultery has not substantiated his allegations, said the archbishop’s lawyer.
The Zimbabwean plaintiff’s lawyer filed an amendment to the original charges “in an attempt to correct grammatical errors and other mistakes in the original document” but “his basic demand hasn’t changed much,” said Nicholas Mathonsi, Archbishop Ncube’s lawyer.
In an Aug. 7 telephone interview from Bulawayo, Mathonsi said that the following day he would file a request in Bulawayo’s civil court for “particulars of the allegations that we are entitled to as a matter of law.”
In documents handed to Archbishop Ncube July 16, Onesimus Sibanda claimed $160,000 in damages from the archbishop for an alleged affair with his wife, Rosemary Sibanda.
In his revised charges, Sibanda claimed $80,000 for loss of company, affection, assistance and sexual relations and $80,000 for loss of comfort.
Mathonsi said, “We asked them to substantiate their vague and embarrassing allegations with particulars such as dates and venues before we can respond,” but “they dodged and avoided most of our questions,” which included how they arrived at the claims for damages.
“If they again fail to comply we will be forced to go to court to compel them to substantiate the claims,” he said.
Mathonsi noted that a report in the Zimbabwe Standard newspaper Aug. 5 that the adultery charges were dropped indicated a “misunderstanding of the documents filed” by the plaintiff’s lawyer.
Archbishop Ncube, an outspoken opponent of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, will deny in court the allegations of adultery that are part of a “well-orchestrated campaign” to discredit him, Mathonsi told CNS when the allegations were made.
State-run newspapers published photos they said were of Archbishop Ncube and a woman, taken with a concealed camera placed in the archbishop’s bedroom by a private investigator hired by Sibanda.
Zimbabwe’s Jesuits published a message of solidarity for Archbishop Ncube in their Aug. 3 newsletter. In the message, they said private investigator Ernest Tekere “has a personal as well as a state ax to grind” against the archbishop.
Tekere was a senior intelligence operative for the Zimbabwean government for 20 years and was allegedly involved in the Gukurahundi campaign, in which government troops were responsible for the murders of about 20,000 people as well as torture and human rights abuses in the western Matabeleland province from 1981 to 1987, the message said.
“We encourage all caring citizens to stand by Archbishop Ncube in this dark hour, as he has tirelessly stood by us all for many years. We ask him to continue to raise his voice with ours and to continue to campaign for the many just causes and fair practices that he has worked for,” it said.
In March Archbishop Ncube urged Zimbabweans to take to the streets in protest against government oppression and said he was willing to risk his life by leading them.
Zimbabwe is crippled by the highest rate of inflation in the world, unemployment of more than 80 percent, and shortages of foreign currency and fuel. Food shortages are acute, large numbers of people are migrating to the neighboring countries of South Africa and Botswana, and, with elections scheduled for March, political violence has intensified.

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