by AT News Team
Newspapers in Zimbabwe published stories this week reporting that a Seventh-day Adventist pastor at Solusi University Church has been convicted of rape and sentenced to 15 years in prison. These stories ran in New Zimbabwe on May 2 and in The ZimDiaspora the same day.
The stories state that Pastor Edias Ncube, age 35, was convicted in magistrate’s court in Bulawayo after pleading not guilty. He was accused of rape by a 21-year-old woman who had worked as a maid in the home of the pastor and told police that this occurred from October 2008 through July 2010. She contacted the police when she became pregnant.
Pastor Ncube accompanied the young woman to a police station where she initially stated that she had been raped by a stranger. “After being left alone with police officers” she accused the pastor. He told police that the sex was consensual.
The newspapers state that the prosecuting attorney was Goodluck Katenaire. Magistrate Godwin Sengweni stated that the evidence against Pastor Ncube was “overwhelming,” but suspend eight years of the 15-year sentence.
The newspapers also said that Pastor Ncube’s wife is a professor at Solusi University and that the incidents occurred when she was away on trips for the university. The ZimDiaspora also states that he took the young woman to South Africa in an attempt to get her to abort the pregnancy.
Much of the media in this central African country is notoriously unreliable due to the political conditions there. The only confirmation that Adventist Today has been able to obtain for these stories is the fact that the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook does list an Elias S. Ncube as having ministerial credentials from the West Zimbabwe Conference which includes Bulawayo and the suburb where Solusi University is located. The Zimbabwe Union Conference includes a Nomuhle Ncube among those having missionary credentials.
There are about 680,000 members of the Adventist Church among the 12 million population of Zimbabwe or about six percent of the general public, more than 12 times the proportion in the United States. There are 1,324 local congregations. Solusi University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Africa and has a current enrollment of 4,630 students.