Two Catholic Church members were crushed to death while 10 others were injured after a church building succumbed to a heavy storm and collapsed on them last Thursday.
The incident occurred at an incomplete church building in Ingezi suburb in Kadoma.
Parish priest Father Clifford Nhetekwa confirmed the fatal accident, adding the victims were attending a midweek womens church service when part of the wall collapsed covering them.
Eyewitnesses said the women were immediately retrieved from the rubble by fellow church members, but later died at Kadoma General Hospital.
The tragedy struck our church following a heavy storm. It happened whilst I was on my way to address the church meeting, Nhetekwa said.
Mashonaland West provincial police spokesperson Clemence Mabgweazara confirmed the accident and identified the deceased as Faith Mupingiri (22) and Lillian Mhlongeni (40).
The pair was buried at Rimuka Cemetery on Sunday with the church footing all costs associated with the funeral. Mupingiri left behind two children and the youngest is aged eight months while Mhlongeni left behind three teenage children.
On Saturday, senior Catholic priests, Archbishop Christopher Ndlovu and Vicar-General Kennedy Muguti, visited the bereaved families and injured members, some who were still admitted at Kadoma General Hospital.
A survivor, Annastacia Mangani said over 20 members of the churchs Hosi Yedenga wing were seated behind the walls for their usual prayer meeting when tragedy struck.
“Heavy winds accompanied by a thunderstorm caused the building which was at roof level to collapse on top of us, she said.
Kadoma mayor Peter Matambo said council would investigate the circumstances surrounding the disaster.
“We are depressed by this tragedy and as the people of Kadoma, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the families, Father Nhetekwa and the Catholic Church at large, he said.
Council will, however, open an inquiry to establish how the building could just collapse like a deck of cards like that. We will let the building inspectorate look into the matter.
Nhetekwa, however, ruled out foul play saying other buildings in the surrounding community had also been affected by the storm which he described as a natural phenomenon.
“It was not our church alone which was affected by these storms. A number of churches in Kadoma were hit by the storms and destroyed.
To us we saw the hand of God because if it was not God Himself, the 20 women at the church at that time could all have been killed in that accident, he said.