Zimbabwe Gov't Orchestrated Adultery Allegations, Says Outspoken Bishop

A former archbishop in Zimbabwe has asserted that allegations that he committed adultery were orchestrated by the state.

Pius Ncube resigned from his position earlier this month after allegations were brought against him in July and pictures emerged showing him in bed with his married female secretary.

Although he initially refused to comment, Ncube recently spoken out saying that the pictures were used by the state to stop him from speaking out against the human rights violations of President Robert Mugabe's government.

The former Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo did not, however, specifically deny the allegations, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported, saying instead that he could not discuss the case as yet.

"This was the evil plan of the government to isolate me and to cut me off from the human rights drive in the country, evil plans of trying to break me," Ncube said, speaking to the BBC's Reporting Religion program. "That has not succeeded."

He went on to tell the BBC that the Zimbabwe government was just using the allegations to distract people's attention from the country's problems, emphasizing once again that there were people starving.

Ncube, who reportedly planned to remain an ordained bishop and lead a new charity group known as the Zimbabwe Humanitarian Support Trust, has been one of Mugabe's most outspoken critics and has even urged foreign governments to overthrow the president's regime.

Inflation in Zimbabwe has now reached 15,000 percent and in many places there is no food, and electricity is being rationed. In addition, Ncube said, fuel is now so expensive that very few cars were being used.

"The very essentials of our livelihood are not there," the bishop told the BBC, "and because they are failing to provide them they must try to get people's attention diverted to non essentials."

He also revealed that he had received hundreds of messages of support by e-mail, letter, phone and from visitors, and he promised that the current problems would not halt him highlighting the country's human rights violations in the international arena.

"I refuse to bow to their pressures in any way, because if you bow to that pressure then they have got you where they want you. This is my country and I am free to speak and to criticize the evil things which they are doing against the people," Ncube said.

The husband of the woman who Ncube is accused of having an affair with has sued the former archbishop for 20 billion Zimbabwean dollars – about $80,000 on Zimbabwe's black market, which has a more realistic exchange rate than the one set by the government, according to International Herald Tribune.

Ncube has said that the lawsuit too is the work of the state.

"This thing is state-driven, it is not from the husband," he said.

During the BBC program, Ncube also said he could not speak about the specifics of the case until after the court proceedings were finished.

He did say, however, that he expects the case to "fizzle out" as "there is no case."