Archbishop Pius Ncube appeals for world to act on Zimbabwe

 Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo has again spoken out against Zimbabwean government policies and the international community that is allowing the "disastrous" humanitarian situation there to escalate. Speaking at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where he was a guest of the Australian Human Rights Centre, Archbishop Ncube said: "while the people of Zimbabwe are starving, Mugabe and his ministers are busy corruptly trading and getting themselves rich." Referring to the international community's lack of action against the regime, Ncube said: "There should be agreement among nations that, when a person goes against their own people, the international community have a right to invade and bring them down. Otherwise people die while the international community folds its hands and looks on." At Easter, Zimbabwe's Catholic Bishops issued a five-page pastoral letter calling on Mugabe to end oppression in the country and allow for democratic reform. It also said violent confrontation and deepening economic hardships was pushing the nation close to a flash point. Many bishops' conference around the world have since issued statements fully supporting the Zimbabwean bishops' stand. In an interview with the Zimbabwean state newspaper The Herald, President Mugabe warned that the country's nine Catholic bishops had chosen "a dangerous path" by getting involved in politics. He said his government would in future treat the bishops as what he called "political entities" and "deal with them accordingly." Father Oskar Wermter director of Jesuit Communications in Harare, said Mugabe's response to the pastoral letter was to be expected. "What is surprising is that he kept silent for so long. People have reacted to the letter very positively and maybe that is riling him." A church spokesman said state agents have been questioning several priests and laypeople. On Friday a priest was arrested and held for 24 hours before being released without charge. Sources: UNSW/Herald/ZWN

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