Archbishop Pius Ncube in BBC interview

 Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo gave a rare interview to Michael Buerk in Rome on BBC Radio Four Choice this morning. The programme will be repeated this evening at 9.30pm and can also be heard on-line. During the interview the Archbishop speaks of Zimbabwe's descent into violence and famine under the Mugabe regime and expresses his concern for the future of the country. "It's disastrous" he said. "Currently 33 per cent of the population has HIV. One thing they need to survive is food and it is not there." The Archbishop said the government gave incorrect harvest predictions to the UN food agency, indicating that the many farms confiscated by Mugabe are in production, when they are not. "Now the rainy season is about to begin they have not bought seed to plant." he said. Inflation is running at 1000 per cent, he said, adding that "half the country" does have enough to eat. "Even the middle classes are in great difficulty. I am expecting a lot of elderly people to die" he said. Two million have fled to South Africa, half a million have gone to Botswana and half a million have gone to the UK. Archbishop Ncube said that while the government purports to be Christian it is acting in a completely un-Christian way. "They are building big houses and driving around in Mercedes while the people are starving" he said. Many hundreds have been tortured and killed under the regime. During the programme, the Archbishop said that he and his family, including his 87 year-old mother had suffered threats and intimidation at the hands of Mugabe's 'war veterans'. He said: "I will continue to speak out. It would be a sin not to. I have to trust in God that if he wants me to serve him he will protect me."

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