(Continued from A Woman Scorned)
There is a commotion outside the main sanctuary immediately after the service as journalists jostle in an attempt to interview the Tabernacle’s worship leader and the Bishop’s alleged mistress, Alice. No one noticed the arrival of the journalists as the service was going on. Perhaps those in the tents did, but what could they have done? The television crew that covers the Sunday service is usually the docile type, not investigative journalists. But the scuffle Catherine caused was live on air, and reporters, including those from other stations, must have caught a whiff of the scandal while idling at their homes and were on site long before the service ended.
Alice is rescued by the Bishop’s aides. They whisk her into the bowels of the church administration block, the monstrous building called the Divinity Centre. The journalists stay put, interviewing members of the church about the utterances of Catherine. Many members are excited to be interviewed by the major news outlets, a fact that the Bishop does not like. The mere presence of the reporters to him represents a potential public relations calamity. But every threat also represents an opportunity to a man like the Bishop.
Through his aides, he organizes a press conference in his office, where he promises to “bare it all”. The media hounds, smelling a kill, scramble to the eighth floor of the Divinity Centre, where the office of the Bishop is located.
The reporters are led through a series of doors that end up in a large conference room. The room is expensively furnished, with leather seats, an imposing mahogany table, a velvet carpet and exotic curtains on the massive windows. The Bishop obviously has a superior taste, and the money to finance it.
They find him sitting on one end of the table. He is a tall man with an athletic body and a decidedly handsome face. His charming smile that disarms the novices, but the veteran journalists know that it is deceptive. The most brutal politicians don that smile. Even Fuhrer Hitler is said to have been very charismatic.
“Welcome ladies and gentlemen. Before we begin, I need us to do a little trade. You promise not to write anything about what you may have heard outside. Then I will give you an exclusive interview.”
There is murmuring among the journalists. But then the aides start distributing wads of cash to all the reporters and the cameramen. The murmuring dies down. The cameramen quickly hand over their tapes to the aides. Tea is served by more aides and the Bishop tells them a sanitized story about his wife’s mental health challenges and current treatment.
That evening most of the stations run a brief story about the “mental meltdown” of a popular city Bishop’s wife and the Bishop’s sensitivity on the issue of mental health.
(A week later)
Then a story appears on YouTube that details a different version of the events. Journalist Stella Kavwe, a veteran journalist with one of the country’s leading stations, explains in her expose that her employer refused to run the story, preferring the sanitized version that her partner gave, so she opted to air it herself.
She explains that she has spent the week researching on the massive scam that is happening at the Divine Miracles Tabernacle. The events at the Bishop’s office, where she had been when the journalists were bribed to kill the story, had convinced her that there was something that the Bishop was hiding. She says that she reported the bribe to her bosses and was brushed off. She reported to the police and was given an OB number, but there is no indication that anything will be done.
So she took leave from work to expose the rot largely on her own, but with the help of a friendly cameraman. She didn’t tell her bosses she was going rogue, of course. She just took some of her accumulated leave days. Maybe she will be fired at the end of this, or maybe not. She simply does not care. She simply wants to do what she believes is right.
Many of the women she found refused to talk about the Bishop, obviously out of fear. But a few did talk.
In the 90 minute video, various women explain their illicit relationships with the Bishop and how he forced them to abort when they became pregnant. Many are young girls who believed the lie that he was stuck in a bad marriage and was divorcing Catherine to marry them. Only for them to be shoved aside when they became pregnant.
Stella has even managed to find hotel waitresses who testify on the video that the Bishop and Alice had been frequenting city hotels for the past month, often renting a room during the day. Occasionally they would spend the night at one or the other of the hotels.
But adultery, while a sin, is not a crime. And the girls, while young, are all past the age of 18. For her to have the Bishop arrested, she needs to link him to the abortions and the kidnapping of Catherine, but for that to happen, she needs to find the doctor.
Unfortunately, none of the women knows the identity of the doctor who conducts the abortions, or if he is a real doctor, but they can describe him. Neither do they know where the clinic is because the Bishop’s aides would take them there blindfolded.
The video becomes an instant hit and causes an uproar on social media but the Tabernacle and the mainstream media maintain a studious silence amid the furore, obviously hoping to ride out the storm quietly.
(On the evening of the same day that the expose airs)
Stella’s apartment is a mess. Papers are strewn all over, dirty utensils on the sink. She has hardly slept in the last one week, investigating the scandal involving the Bishop. She has tracked witnesses, coaxed unwilling ones into talking and made a million phone calls to get information.
She has established that Catherine is not mad and that the Bishop is a philanderer. The expose has been a hit. But a lot still needs to be done to bring the Bishop to book. She needs to find the doctor and expose the abortions. Plus, she is certain that Catherine is being held at the doctor’s clinic.
Stella has leads and is closing in on the doctor. She hopes she can trace him before something horrible happens to Catherine. At least, she hopes to find assistance before the good woman is raped by the doctor. Or maimed. Or even killed. There is no evidence that the Bishop has killed anyone, but the heat that the first expose is generating might cause him to do something stupid, like having Catherine killed to cover his tracks.
So far the police are not cooperating, most likely because of the Bishop’s influence with politicians and senior police officers.
But Stella is persuaded that if she zeroes in on the doctor, the backlash emanating from the first expose can force the police to arrest both the doctor and the Bishop.
But now she needs to make something to eat. She has just arrived from the supermarket and is arranging groceries in the kitchen so that she can prepare supper. Suddenly her front door swings open. As she moves towards the sitting room to check what is going on, she comes face to face with four male, gorilla-size thugs. Before she can react, one of them grabs her and covers her mouth with his massive paws. Another finds a piece of cloth that they use to cover her mouth. Another shuts the door.
They strip her and take turns raping her. When they are done, they beat her up with fists and kicks and then one of them picks a kitchen knife and stabs her twice. They take away her notebooks and laptop and disappear into the darkness.
(Continued at A Woman Scorned III)
Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/woman-broken-heart-girl-face-sad-1547891/