Colin Powell thanks Zimbabwe archbishop
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has expressed his appreciation to controversial Zimbabwean Archbishop Pius Ncube for his outspoken opposition to the policies of President Robert Mugabe's government.
Powell lauded Ncube, archibishop of Bulawayo, for his "principled stance" against the Mugabe regime, a stance that earned him a warning from police in February.
A senior State Department official who attended a meeting on Tuesday between Powell and Ncube said the US Secretary of State "wanted to recognise the strong role the archibishop has played in standing up for the Zimbabwean people and their humanitarian and civil rights."
"Ncube has been explembery in being willing to put himself in a strong position for his people."
Washington has become highly critical of Mugabe and his increasingly autocratic style, with some US officials calling for him to hand over power to a transitional government that would hold free and fair elections.
Ncube, along with other members of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference, signed a letter made public last month that criticised Mugabe's government for failing to create a free and just environment.
Zimbabwe police caution outspoken archbishop (3/3/03)
Pius Ncube Eludes State Security Agents (Financial Gazette, Harare)
Zimbabwe police charge 42 over cricket demonstration (Reuters)
21 Clergymen Arrested in Zimbabwe (Voice of America)
Harare police arrest protesting clerics (The Guardian)
Zimbabwe: churches clash with police (Independent Catholic News)
Church Leadership Must Never Reconcile With Evil (The Daily News, Harare)
Zimbabwe archbishop rebukes Australian cricketers (25/2/03)
Archbishop Pius Alick Ncube (catholic-hierarchy.org)
Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference
Pope Criticises Land Reform (Allafrica.com)
22 May 2003