Zimbabwe: Archbishop urges non-violent resistance

 The Archbishop of Bulawayo has called for a peaceful mass demonstration uprising against President Robert Mugabe. Archbishop Pius Ncube told the Johannesburg-based Sunday Independent newspaper, he hoped the people would oust Mr Mugabe after the poll scheduled for tomorrow. He said the parliamentary ballot had already been fixed to ensure the ruling ZANU-PF party won, and urged a "non-violent, popular mass uprising". Archbishop Ncube said: "I hope that people get so disillusioned that they really organise against the government... ..People have been too soft with this government. . .So people should pluck up just a bit of courage and stand up against him and chase him away." Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF, which denies past vote-rigging claims, has promised fair elections. Its spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira has branded Archbishop Ncube an "inveterate liar". But international human rights groups have already concurred with his views on the forthcoming election and raised serious concerns about a climate of fear and intimidation in the run-up to the vote. Archbishop Ncube insisted he was not advocating violence but simply backing a peaceful uprising like that in Ukraine in 2004. Recent examples from Serbia, the Philippines, and the former USSR have shown that peaceful insurrections can be successful and take place with minimum casualties when a population is empowered to overcome its fear of a regime. Experts in non-violent resistance have suggested two hundred non-violent tactics that can be employed in resisting a regime. Historically this kind of on-violent resistance can involves the use of a range of forceful sanctions - such as strikes, boycotts, civil disobedience, disrupting the functions of government, even non-violent sabotage. Archbishop Ncube said the opposition in Zimbabwe needed to produce "a strong leadership" if Mr Mugabe, who has led the country since 1980, was to be challenged. A "kind of tacit violence" had characterised the run-up to this year's election, Archbishop Ncube told the Associated Press news agency, although he said most political rallies have been peaceful. He also accused the government of denying much-needed food aid to rural supporters of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Source: CISA

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