Tuesday, 17 May 2022

SEX PROBE : SEVENTH DAY PASTORS SLEEPING WITH CHURCH EMPLOYEES

THE Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church has been hit by sex scandals involving senior pastors and church employees, H-Metro can reveal.

The cases backdate to 2020.

Several employees have allegedly been victimised and fired over their intentions to expose the rot.

Former Zimbabwe East Union Conference treasurer, Philemon Muchandida, has already resigned amid the turbulence.

When contacted for comment, Muchandida chose not to respond.

However, the chairperson of the committee conducting the hearings and investigations, confirmed the church was seized with the matter and hearings were underway.

“The church is currently investigating these cases and we will soon issue a statement as soon as we are done with the hearings,” he said.

“Discipline is going to be issued to those who will be found at fault and I would like to make it clear that the church will get to the bottom of the issue and justice will be served,” he said.

Sources privy to the goings on confirmed to H-Metro that the church was seized with the matter.

“This case is being dealt with at the highest level. The leaders are in the firing line and victims are coming forward to lodge complaints.

“Mr Philemon has since resigned due to pressure while a hearing for another pastor was supposed to be done on Thursday last week.

“The leadership wants to deal with these accused persons since nyaya yacho iri kupisa,” said the source.

H-Metro is in possession of a complaint which was presented to president of Zimbabwe East Union Conference, Pastor Musara.

The letter reads: “ZEUC is a Union with two conferences under it, namely East Zimbabwe Conference and North Zimbabwe Conference at ZEUC offices.

“Philemon has (allegedly) been abusing female workers. He would arrange visitations to schools outside Harare where he would book overnight accommodation and abuse the co-workers.

“Victims made a report to Ndlovu in May last year (2020).

“The victims were firstly persuaded not to report because the name of the church will (be brought) into disrepute.

“Some even wrote to Rotina Musara at Musasa Project.

“Faced with mounting pressure the ZEUC Executive chose a pliable committee that threatened the victims with dismissal.

“ZEUC, a fortnight ago, convened a meeting and the sexual harassment issue was tabled.”

 Musara responded to a report sent to him.

“Having acknowledged earlier the complaint that you lodged through your e-mail, I can assure you I have given good thought to the seriousness of the matter.

“Procedurally, where allegations of the nature of sexual harassment are made the accuser would be required to come forward and testify against the accused and testify on the subject laid against the accused.

“The evidence is usually required to be first hand from the mouth of the person who personally witnessed or suffered the alleged misconduct.

“At the moment it is not clear in your email whether you are a whistle blower or an accuser.

“Sexual harassment, which you allege in your email, by its very nature calls for direct evidence from the victim/s of the harassment who, in such cases, become/s the proper complainant.

“I note with concern that your letter does not name individuals who suffered the harassment but points out that there are victims who remain unnamed.

“I urge you to encourage the victims to come forward in their individual right and lay personal complaints to enable us to commence investigations into specific cases with specific particulars.

“If you feel that you personally can be able to testify against the accused and give first-hand evidence on the allegations, may I request that you provide specific particulars in respect of specific allegations or matters that you can personally speak to and are within your personal knowledge so that we can be able to initiate investigations into the relevant allegations.

“We await your response or alternatively receipt of direct complaints from the victims referred and not named in your email.

“I invite victims to see me directly and lodge their complaints. I can assure them, through you, that they will be protected from victimisation as per the church policy.” H Metro

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