Mugabe "thugs" accused over threatening letter
In a letter addressed to a Catholic congregation, unnamed leaders from Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's ruling party have warned supporters of Archbishop Pius Ncube and of the opposition party to "prepare to pack your belongings".
SW Africa Radio reports that the letter comes a month after a large number of youth militia had been dispatched to harass local church officials who had read out the critical Easter Pastoral letter issued by Zimbabwe's Catholic Bishops.
The bishops' letter had criticised those in authority as bad examples for Zimbabwe's youth because they are "corrupt, greedy and immoral".
The bishops also accused government of sponsoring violence against its opponents.
But SW Africa Radio contacts in Mashonaland East now report that ruling party ZANU-PF local structures have sent a threatening letter ordering them to discontinue their church activities or be prepared to deal with tough consequences.
Written in the Shona language, the letter named six individuals from the church who would be harmed if nothing changed, SW Africa Radio says.
Translated, the words read: "The saga you have started is madness. Worship God and leave the politics of Pius Ncube and MDC (the opposition party) alone. Stop removing people from God. If you continue we will win this war. Prepare to pack your belongings. If you keep this up we shall take you one by one. So choose whether you want war, peace or to stop your church activities. Down with MDC and the followers of Pius Ncube."
A local opposition leader said all six threatened people are still in the area because they have nowhere else to go.
ZANU-PF thugs issue threatening letter to church goers in Mashonaland East (SW Radio Africa, 22/5/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Robert Mugabe (Wikipedia)
Pius Ncube (Wikipedia)
Bishops back Zimbabwe cricket boycott (CathNews, 11/5/07)
Zimbabwe bishops on "dangerous path", Mugabe warns (CathNews, 7/5/07)
Zimbabwe bishops end "criminal silence" on Mugabe (CathNews, 11/4/07)
Zimbabwe dialogue still possible, African bishops say (CathNews, 4/4/07)
"Ready to face bullets", Zimbabwean archbishop says (CathNews, 23/3/07)
Zimbabwe Church accuses S Africa over failure to act (CathNews, 21/3/07)
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Millions facing starvation in Zimbabwe , Archbishop warns (CathNews, 28/11/06)
Archbishop's report exposes Zimbabwean homelessness debacle (CathNews, 1/9/06)
Zimbabwe's anti-terrorism bill threatens freedom, says Justice and Peace director (CathNews, 28/7/06)
Bishops denounce Zimbabwe "clean-up" (CathNews, 20/6/05)
23 May 2007