Two toddlers died during a baptism ceremony at Kubatanakwashe Faith Fellowship Church along Save River in Chipinge last Friday.
The church is located at Ndunduma Village in the Chibuwe area under Chief Musikavanhu.
The two children from the same village died soon after consuming the concoction that had allegedly been prepared by the church leader, Pedzanai Masapa during the church service.
The two children were identified as Taurai Zituta-Sithole (one) and Raymond Bote (11 months) and were both buried on Tuesday.
The Manica Post reported sources as saying Masapa had prophesied that something bad would happen to the Ndunduma children unless they were baptised.
Deputy Manicaland provincial Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka confirmed the incident. He said:
On November 25, Shangurai Chifadza (23) and Miriam Zvuihari (22) of Ndunduma Village went to attend a church service at Kubatanakwashe Faith Fellowship Church shrine in the same village.
The church leader, Pedzanai Masapa (43) of Masimbe Village told the congregants to go for baptism along Save River.
While at the river, Masapa prepared a concoction which was a mixture of milk, flour, and coarse salt, and made the children drink it before their baptism. This was according to their church doctrine.
Before giving the minors the concoction to drink, Masapa prayed for the mixture and drank it first. He gave it to 10 infants who were present.
However, a few minutes later, the two minors, Raymond Bote and Taurai Zituta-Sithole started producing froth from their mouths.
They were rushed to their homes and died upon arrival. The matter was reported to the police who attended the scene.
The bodies were taken to Chipinge District Hospital for post-mortem.
One of the bereaved parents, Mwadhana Zituta-Sithole, told The Manica Post that post-mortem results revealed that there was no poisoning. He said:
My wife and our late son went to Kubatanakwashe Faith Fellowship Church for prayers together with other members of the community.
On this fateful day, our child looked fine, but I was surprised to see my wife returning home around 4 PM saying the boy had collapsed at church.
We tried everything to resuscitate him, but God had other ways and he died.
I cannot attribute his death to the concoction they were made to drink at the church.
There are some issues rocking the church that need urgent addressing. The matter is before the traditional leadership.
The church leader, Masapa, prophesied that a calamity would befall our children and this has come to pass.
The local traditional leader, Mutape Nzeka said the community elders will discuss how to cleanse the area.