Zimbabwe archbishop "will not be silenced"
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo has said he refuses to be muzzled and he does not fear the Zimbabwean government's latest threat to clamp down on its critics.
Ekklesia reports that the outspoken church leader declared: "They [Mugabe's forces] will not silence me and I will continue to denigrate the evil things they have done against their own people."
A ruling party conference has called for the security forces to draw up a list of Zimbabweans whose passports should be seized under new laws aimed at muzzling opponents.
The passports of the main opposition party spokesman and a leading Zimbabwean publisher whose papers have carried stories critical of the government have already been confiscated.
After a four-day tour of the country, the United Nations humanitarian envoy, Jan Egeland, recently described Zimbabwe as being in "meltdown".
He estimated that around three million people would be in need of food aid by February. The country's agricultural output has fallen by more than half in the last five years.
"We are in the Guinness Book of Records for having the highest inflation in the world," said Archbishop Ncube. Although it officially stands at 500%, he felt the real figure was closer to 700%.
"Essential staff such as teachers feel devalued when their wages can buy very little," he said. Harare's Herald newspaper noted that a two-kilogram chicken for Christmas dinner would cost around 273,000 Zimbabwean dollars.
Zimbabwe archbishop will not be silenced (Ekklesia 21/12/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
English bishops return after assessing Zimbabwe rights situation (Ecumenical News International 21/12/05)
Ncube ready to face clampdown (The Tablet 17/12/05)
Zimbabwean church official says elections don't help starving people (Catholic News Service 5/12/05)
Zimbabwean church official says elections don't help starving people (ZWnews.com 6/12/05)
Archbishop predicts Zimbabwe famine (The Tablet 29/10/05)
Archbishop Ncube says 200,000 may die of hunger (Independent Catholic News 20/10/05)
Zimbabwe crisis: nothing left to do but pray (ZWNews.com 23/10/05)
22 Dec 2005