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Zimbabwe archbishop rebukes Australian cricketers

Archbishop Pius Ncube has criticised the Australian cricket team who played Zimbabwe yesterday in Bulawayo, accusing them of being unsympathetic to the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans.

The Archbishop's attack came on the eve of their game against co-hosts Zimbabwe, where a massive civil protest to highlight the crisis in the country was expected to take place.

Security police warned protesters they would take a hard line on disruptions during Cricket World Cup matches in Zimbabwe, prompting civic organisers to keep their rallying points secret until this morning.

"It must be realised that while this cricket match is being played, there is so much mismanagement of affairs and tremendous suffering in Zimbabwe," said Ncube.

He said he and other clergy were totally opposed to any international team playing in Zimbabwe, saying he feared that those who had made the journey to take part in the World Cup had not been exposed to all the issues.

"In Zimbabwe we are suffering. Them (the Australians), they are not suffering, so perhaps this doesn't affect them," said Ncube. "Politics is about life, just as cricket is," he added.

Civic organisations, including the National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe Rights, the International Socialist Organisation, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, and the Catholic and Methodist churches were planning to take part in today's protest.

Independent Catholic News

Zim cleric scolds 'callous' Australians (The Star, South Africa)
Zimbabwe church cricket protest (BBC)
Churchmen protest at Bulawayo game
Australia win tough assignment without fuss (The Australian)
Tensions rise before Zimbabwe clash (The Australian 24/2/03)

25 Feb 2003