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Zimbabwean Archbishop Pius Ncube Forced to Resign
Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007

By Isdore Guvamombe
The Herald
September 11, 2007

DISGRACED Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo Diocese, Pius Ncube (60), has been forced to resign by the Vatican, nearly two months after a Bulawayo man filed a $20 billion lawsuit against him for adultery.

Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Father Martin Schupp to act until the Holy See makes a substantive appointment.

Roman Catholic Church priests are sworn to a vow of celibacy, meaning that they must never marry and must never engage in sexual intercourse.

Ncube is embroiled in a $20 billion lawsuit brought against him by Mr Onesimus Sibanda, who alleges in papers filed at the High Court in Bulawayo in July that the cleric had an adulterous relationship with his wife, Mrs Rosemary Sibanda, who is also a member of his parish.

Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference secretary general Father Fradreck Chiromba said Archbishop Ncube's resignation was accepted in terms of the church's Code of Canon Law.

"Pope Benedict XVI, on Tuesday, 11 September 2007, accepted the resignation of Archbishop Pius A. Ncube as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo.

"The resignation was tendered to the Holy Father by Archbishop Ncube in accordance with canon 401 & 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

"Canon 401 & 2 encourages a bishop to offer his resignation when, because of health or some other serious reason, he has become less able to fulfil his office,'' said Fr Chiromba.

Fr Chiromba said Fr Schupp, who is also the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, would act "until the Holy See decides otherwise in terms of the Archdiocese that is now vacant".

Although no comment could be obtained from Ncube yesterday, the BBC quoted him as saying he had resigned as the Archbishop but remained a bishop in the church.

"I remain a Catholic bishop in Zimbabwe and will continue to speak out on the issues that sadly become more acute by the day.

"I am committed to promoting the social teachings of the church and working among the poorest and most needy in Zimbabwe," said the disgraced bishop in his face-saving statement to the BBC yesterday.

His forced resignation is a slap in the face of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference, which last week made an impish attempt to defend him in his alleged adulterous affair with Mrs Sibanda.

The media in July published photographs of Ncube in bed with Mrs Sibanda. It also showed him being intimate with another woman.

In March, Ncube – who had developed a tendency to stray from holy preachings to devilish and heinous political statements attacking President Mugabe and the Government – said he was prepared to stand in front of "blazing guns" in street protests to bring down the Government. He urged other Zimbabweans to do the same.

Four months later, he was at it again, saying Britain should invade Zimbabwe to remove Cde Mugabe, claiming this would be "the lesser of two evils".

He is also on record for declaring he was praying for President Mugabe's death.

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