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'Halfwit' Zimbabwe archbishop urges popular uprising

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe labelled the influential Archbishop of Bulawayo a "halfwit", after he called for a non-violent mass uprising to end his 25-year rule ahead of today's general election.

The London Independent says Archbishop Pius Ncube, a prominent critic of the President, spoke out as he was campaigning south of Harare, ahead of the election on Thursday.

The Archbishop says today's elections for a new parliament are certain to be rigged, and that Zimbabweans should stage a Ukraine-style "popular mass uprising" to remove the 81-year-old President after the poll.

"I hope people get so disillusioned that they really organise against this government and kick him [Mr Mugabe] out by non-violent popular mass uprising," he said. "Because as it is people have been too soft with this government. So people should pluck up just a bit of courage and stand up against him and chase him away."

The Archbishop, based in Zimbabwe's second city in the opposition heartland of Matabeleland, has not hesitated to criticise Mr Mugabe in the run-up to the election. He has accused the government of starving the people into submission by withholding food aid to political opponents in drought-stricken areas. In his Easter sermon, he said: "Somewhere there shall come a resurrection for Zimbabwe."

In comments to The Economist, he said: "People just pray that Mugabe should die. I pray for that."

Mugabe condemns Archbishop who called for mass uprising as 'halfwit' (The Independent 29/3/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference | Archbishop Pius A. Ncube

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Govt will not tolerate post-election demonstrations (Reuters 30/3/05)
Mugabe predicts 'huge' poll victory (The Guardian/Associated Press 30/3/05)
Zimbabwe: Archbishop urges non-violent resistance (Independent Catholic News 30/3/05)
This is Zimbabwe
Voting against me is treachery: Mugabe (The Australian 31/3/05)
In Zimbabwe, withholding of food magnifies the hunger for change ( 30/3/05)
Zimbabwe condemns 'liar' cleric (BBC 28/3/05)
Zimbabwean archbishop predicts president will buy March 31 election (Catholic News Service 28/3/05)
Mugabe Attacks Archbishop's Comments Ahead of Zimbabwe Elections (Christian Today 29/3/05)
Mugabe: Zimbabwe Opposition Are Traitors (The Guardian/Associated Press 29/3/05)
Editorial: Stealing democracy (The Guardian 29/3/05)
Plea for end to Mugabe regime (Herald-Sun/AFP 29/3/05)
Archbishop seeks peaceful uprising against Mugabe (Irish Times 27/3/05)
Zimbabwe archbishop calls on nation to rise against Mugabe (The Independent 28/3/05)
Archbishop urges non-violent resistance in Zimbabwe (Ekklesia 28/3/05)
Zimbabwe Catholic archbishop enrages ruling party with uprising call (Ecumenical News International 28/3/05)
Oust Mugabe peacefully: Archbishop (Agence France-Presse/Herald-Sun 29/3/05)
Zimbabwe: Good Friday appeal from church leaders (Independent Catholic News 25/3/05)

31 Mar 2005