Zimbabwe: Catholic Bishops speak out in defence of Archbishop Ncube

 The Catholic bishops of Zimbabwe have come out in strong defence of President Mugabe's fearless critic, Archbishop Pius Ncube, who faces accusations of adultery. The country's nine bishops said the accusations were "outrageous and utterly deplorable and "constitute an assault on the Catholic Church. The full text of the bishops, statement is as follows: "The recent attacks by some politicians and the state media on the person of Archbishop Pius Ncube are outrageous and utterly deplorable. They constitute an assault on the Catholic Church, to which we take strong exception. The Catholic Church has never been and is not an enemy of Zimbabwe. "We are serving the people of our country pastorally and in many other ways, through over 60 mission hospitals, many orphanages and 174 primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions. Our record during the years of the liberation struggle speaks for itself. "The matter of Archbishop Ncube is now before the High Court of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. It is, therefore, sub judice and should not be discussed in public until a verdict has been delivered by the courts. Moreover, the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly defends the presumption of innocence of an accused person as a legal safeguard for a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal. "Acting in complete disregard of these universally respected conventions, the state media obtained and publicised, for days on end, in print and on television, video and photographic material, which violated the most fundamental personal rights of Archbishop Ncube and were utterly offensive to the public. "We repeat what we said in our recent Pastoral Letter: The people of Zimbabwe are suffering. Their freedom and fundamental human rights are violated daily with impunity, the shelves of the shops and supermarkets are empty, our currency has become worthless, the public health service has collapsed, the country,s main roads are lined with tens of thousands of citizens waiting for public transport, corruption is rampant and young people are risking their lives daily and in growing numbers to escape the catastrophe that our country has become. "The crude attempts at diverting attention from these facts by intensifying the hate propaganda and character assassination against those Zimbabweans who, like Archbishop Ncube, have spoken out in defence of the oppressed, has not deceived ordinary Zimbabweans. Quite the contrary. "Archbishop Ncube has fearlessly exposed the evils of the Gukurahundi massacres and of Operation Murambatsvina. For years, he has courageously and with moral authority advocated social justice and political action to overcome the grievous crisis facing our country. We support him fully in his present painful personal situation and ask all our faithful to remember him in their prayers. Source: CISA

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