Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bishop says he has prophetic role

Zimbabwean Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube says he accepts that his opposition to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe may cost him his life.

"The church has a prophetic role to speak the truth when no-one else dares to," the Archbishop of Bulawayo told the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Meanwhile, a crackdown on aid groups suspected of opposing the president has begun, state media reports.

All non-governmental organisations must now reapply for their licences....

Information Sikhanyiso Ndlovu ordered the NGO crackdown as some organisations were using relief activities as a cover for an opposition-led campaign to overthrow the government.

"Pro-opposition and Western organisations masquerading as relief agencies continue to mushroom," state radio quoted him as saying.

"The government has annulled the registration of all NGOs in order to screen out agents of imperialism from organisations working to uplift the wellbeing of the poor."

Last month, a prayer meeting in the capital, Harare, attended by opposition leaders and activists was broken up by police, leaving two people dead.

Scores of activists, including Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, were arrested and assaulted in police custody.

Archbishop Ncube also accused other African leaders of failing to exert pressure on Mr Mugabe to relinquish power.

Southern African leaders have appointed South Africa President Thabo Mbeki to mediate between Mr Mugabe and the MDC party.

Over Easter, the country's bishops warned of a mass uprising unless free elections are held, in a letter pinned up in churches.

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