A ROMAN Catholic priest based at the Gweru Diocese Cathedral Church allegedly committed suicide after stealing and crashing a parish vehicle following a beer drinking spree.
Father Batsirai Marimbe, 31, allegedly drank poison and his body was found at Mutapa Cemetery in Gweru at around 6AM on Saturday.
On Friday night, Father Marimbe allegedly took a parish vehicle which had just returned from routine service and went for a beer drink at Eclipse Night Club with a group of his friends.
According to witnesses, Father Marimbe was involved in an accident in the wee hours of Saturday where one passenger was injured.
The witnesses alleged that he abandoned the vehicle and rushed home.
He then went to Mtapa cemetery in Gweru where he drank poison.
Following his death, rumours started circulating on social media that he had been suspended by Gweru Diocese Bishop, Right Reverend Xavier Munyongani.
Parishioners alleged he did not have a driver’s licence.
Father Marimbe drew the ire of the church when he allegedly assaulted a Priest In-Charge at Hama Mission, Father Caesar Muchingami at Serima Mission in Gutu.
He had allegedly been transferred to Gweru pending hearing.
Bishop Munyongani confirmed Father Marimbe’s suicide at a church service at the Cathedral but denied suspending Father Marimbe over his alleged misconduct.
Addressing parishioners, a visibly distraught Bishop Munyongani said Father Marimbe had committed suicide for reasons better known to himself.
He said it was not true that Father Marimbe had been suspended.
“There are people who are saying Father Marimbe died because he had been suspended. That is not true. What happened is Father Marimbe took one of the parish vehicles and went for a beer drink with his friends and he was involved in an accident at around 2AM.
“He returned home after the incident and left. He was not suspended as alleged by some of you,” said Bishop Munyongani.
Some of the parishioners who declined to be named alleged that Father Marimbe was in the process of acquiring a driver’s licence.
“When he came to Gweru he had been transferred from Hama Mission where he had assaulted Father Muchingami. He was also in the process of acquiring a driver’s license,” said the parishioner.
The Officer Commanding Midlands Senior Assistant Commissioner Shadreck Mubaiwa could neither deny nor confirm the incident.
“I haven’t received a report regarding that matter. I will have to make a follow up and furnish you with details,” he said.
Father Marimbe became a seminarian in 2004 before being ordained in 2012 after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies at the University of Zimbabwe.
He will be buried today at Driefontein Mission in Chirumhanzu at the Diocese Cemetery.