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Zimbabwe police detain outspoken Archbishop before peace service

Archbishop Pius Ncube was detained briefly on Friday in his Bulawayo chapel, by state security agents, who warned him to desist from discussing political issues before the start of interdenominational prayers for justice and peace in Zimbabwe.

"They warned that no political party regalia should be worn during the prayers, they also said inflammatory statements were not to be allowed during the church service," Pius Ncube told a packed city cathedral before the beginning of the prayers.

"We told them that this is purely a church event with no party politics to be addressed, but we can not avoid addressing political issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe, politics is about food, shelter, school fees for your children, jobs and everything to do with our normal day to day activities," he said.

The church service, held amidst hovering sounds of military helicopters, was attended by human rights activists, Christians from all denominations and opposition MDC Members of Parliament, who included Paul Themba Nyathi, David Coltart and party Vice President, Gibson Sibanda.

Ncube is a strong and outspoken critic of President Mugabe's scorched earth policies and has shown concern for flouting of human rights by the government.

As Ncube led prayers, police were arresting the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for leading five day marches to protest Mugabe's misrule.

The Archbishop returned last week from a visit to the USA where he was praised by the US Secretary of State, Collin Powell, for the role he is playing in speaking out against Mugabe's misrule and his blatant flouting of human rights.

Independent Catholic News

UK Catholic head urges prayers for Zimbabwe (Daily News)
Cardinal: A time to pray for Zimbabwe (Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales)
Zimbabwe's Prelate of Courage (Washington Dispatch)
Colin Powell thanks Zimbabwe archbishop (22/5/03)
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 (

Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference

Pope Criticises Land Reform (

10 Jun 2003