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Mugabe threatens new archbishop at installation

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe clashed openly with Catholic Church leaders on Saturday, as a new archbishop was installed in the capital Harare.

Catholic World News reports that an angry Mugabe delivered a tirade against the Catholic hierarchy after new Archbishop Robert Ndlovu criticised the government for its corruption and human-rights violations.

He said that Catholic bishops are being unpatriotic by criticising his rule, and said that they are in league with supporters of the country's old colonial regime. He said that Catholic leaders were "going to those who yesterday denied us rights."

Archbishop Ndlovu, whose appointment had been heavily criticised by the country's state-controlled media, said at his installation: "The role of a bishop and of the Church in general is to stand up for human dignity, and from human dignity flow human rights."

He made it clear to a congregation of several thousand, including President Mugabe, that he would join with Archbishop Pius Ncube in criticising the country's government.

Archbishop Ncube, who heads the Bulawayo archdiocese, has charged that thousand of Zimbabwe's citizens face the danger of starvation because of Mugabe's policies, which have included the confiscation of land from white farmers and intimidation of political opponents.

In his heated response, President Mugabe said that Catholic bishops have "joined hands with erstwhile colonial masters to peddle lies" about his government. He claimed that the bishops are forming an alliance with Britain and the United States, and said: "We band you together with them; we damn you together with them."

Mugabe threatens prelate at installation (Catholic World News 23/8/04)

New bishop of Harare: Let politics not divide us (Missionary Service News Agency 23/8/04)
Zimbabwe: new archbishop criticises government at first Mass (Independent Catholic News 23/8/04)
Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu (
Zimbabwe archbishop in call for Mugabe protest (CathNews 23/7/04)
Pius Ncube Fails Dismally (The Herald, Harare/ 22/7/04)
Zimbabwean archbishop in London (Independent Catholic News 22/7/04)
Mugabe accused of using dead people's votes (ABC 21/7/04)
Blair rapped over Zimbabwe inaction (Reuters 21/7/04)
Vatican dismisses critics of archbishop (Business Day 15/7/04)
Zimbabwe: politician attacks Archbishop Pius Ncube (Independent Catholic News 15/7/04)
South African cardinal calls for sanctions against Zimbabwe (CathNews 15/7/04)

24 Aug 2004