A 65-year-old Mutare man is accusing his Muslim clergy (Sheikh) of being responsible for his second wife's pregnancy after a long illicit affair between the two.
Cabo Juma, a Muslim devotee of Mozambican origin who suffered a stroke in 2006, bitterly complained that the sheikh, Nordine Banda of the church's Dangamvura parish in Mutare has been in love with his wife, Jessica Chiweshe, for a long time and his efforts to seek redress within the church yielded nothing.
Juma said the affair led to the irreparable damage to his matrimonial relationship. Apparently, the two (Sheikh Banda and Juma) were very close friends at one time.
When contacted for comment, both his wife and Sheikh Banda dismissed the allegations.
"I really do not want to comment much on the issue and I think the chairman of the church is the one who can give you a comprehensive comment. I will not say much about the prevailing situation because I know the truth will soon be out. They are saying I impregnated her, but I know I am innocent. His aim is to have me removed from this place or else get me fired from the church, but all along I thought it will not get this far," said Sheikh Banda.
In a separate interview, the woman in the centre of the storm, Jessica Chiweshe, doubted her husband's mental stability.
"These allegations are a mere smokescreen meant to conceal the real issue at play. It has all to do with the politics in the church whereby at one point some people did not want the pastor while others stood by him. I happened to belong to the faction that supported the pastor. This is where it all started and later, my husband became so abusive to the extent that I sought refuge at the pastor's place and that fuelled suspicion that I was going out with the pastor, but that was not true. In any case, if you managed to talk to Cabo Juma, do you think he is mentally stable? Since he suffered a stroke in 2006 he has not been the normal man I knew all along. I think the only thing that I have to do is to go to court and get a peace order against this man," said Jessica before she declined to answer more questions.
When the Dangamvura Islamic Society chairman, Juma Yard, was reached for comment, he said:
"I am the chairman and have the powers to fire the pastor if he is wrong. If he is guilty of sleeping with anyone's wife then he should be fired, but the problem is that we do not have any evidence to support the allegations. According to the Islamic law (the Shariah law), there is supposed to be convincing evidence for action to be taken against the perpetrator, but in this case there is no evidence," he said.
However, in wide ranging interview last week, Juma, who is hardly fluent in Shona, maintained that the pastor and his wife were in love.
"I am deeply hurt that my sheikh, who also happened to be my friend at one point, could do this to me. It all started as rumours way back and I did not want to believe it. I started hearing about it when I was in hospital after I suffered a stroke. At times I would hear that the pastor visited my place without my knowledge and it appears he would take advantage of his knowledge on my whereabouts. He would invite my wife every Saturday to do the cooking at church unlike other women who were NOT invited personally.
"For example, on 27 March this year, when this issue became known, I lied to him that I was leaving for Sakubva, Devonshire where my first wife stays. He came to my second wife's place, right at our bedroom window around 10.30pm and called my wife while disguising his voice. I pretended as if I was asleep and my wife (Jessica) abruptly woke up, almost NAKED and went straight to open the door for him. She must have given signs that I was around, but I was already angry about the whole thing and I told them right away that I didn't want to see the pastor again at my place.
"I also immediately banned my wife from going to Mozambique and Harare for business trips because that is where they would occasionally accompany each other. I know the pastor could be one responsible for Jessica's current pregnancy since I am not the one. I'm no longer interested in her," he said.