Courage Under Fire: Profile of Archbishop Pius Ncube
A Catholic cleric who has earned praise for confronting Zimbabwe's dictator plays a prophetic role in battling oppression.
"I believe government has reached a dangerous stage where it will do anything to cling to power, even at the expense of the people. The president, himself--I do not mind saying this--has lost his mind. How can he be so cruel to his people in the winter season? They have stolen the goods of the people. People have worked hard for the little that they have through cross-border trading and hawking and now they have lost that source of livelihood. There is 80-percent unemployment in the country now; inflation is rising, despite lies by [Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank governor Gideon] Gono; prices are rising every three months. There is no fuel and there is a shortage of basic commodities. People are short of money for food and for rent, now they have to deal with homelessness. To me, this is absolutely evil; it shows that the government will stop at nothing to get and keep power."
The archbishop has strong views about the religious significance of the regime's actions.
"These people in government worship power," he says. "This thing is demonic. Why did the Devil revolt against God? It is because of greed and love of power. The hearts of those in government have been taken over by the devil. There is a lot of hunger and starvation in the rural areas and Mugabe knew this in February but did not to correct the situation. He could have called for [international humanitarian] aid then, but for the sake of power he was prepared to sacrifice the lives of the people.
"Externally, these people [in the Mugabe regime] pretend to be Christian, but dishonor God's teaching of loving another and look out for one another, especially the poor and the weak. The United Nations should come in and take over. It should demand fresh elections, because the government has put the lives of the people at risk.
"The country's leadership has shown their total heartlessness. The people who elected them to take care of the people have no heart for them. They are cruel and heartless and will sacrifice the people. They have now destroyed licensed vendors. They want to control everything. This leadership must go. If the people of Zimbabwe do not chase them out, the international community should. They cannot dislodge Mugabe with the ballot, because he is a cheat. The Catholic bishops haveissued a statement condemning this action
by the government.
"It is clear that the leadership of this country is bent on staying in power even if the people die. The way forward is for the leadership to be taken out of power, because all negotiations have failed. Well the United Nations should take them but that will not happen, because Africa supports Mugabe.