Disaster looms for Zimbabwe
The people of Zimbabwe "face an absolutely desperate situation", and "the government is lying to the world about it", according to Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo.
Archbishop Ncube described how, after 19 years of rule by once Prime Minister and now President Robert Mugabe, "everything changed politically three years ago, [when] Mugabe wanted to impose a new constitution."
The Zimbabwean archbishop was delivering the Archbishop Denis Hurley Lecture in Durban, South Africa.
"When the draft constitution was drawn up by the Mugabe supporters, the demands [of the people] were ignored, and the new proposals gave even greater powers to the president," the archbishop added.
"A referendum was held in February 2000 and the proposals were rejected. This was the first time the electorate had voted against Mugabe and his party. ... The result enraged Mugabe, and almost immediately the violence began."
The archbishop called on Catholics to lead by example, and to pray for the conversion of President Mugabe and his supporters: "As Christians and as Church we are not called to go along with society; rather, we are called to preach the values of the Kingdom of God."
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Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference
Zimbabwe 'disaster' as famine looms (BBC)
6 Dec 2002