Zimbabwe´s Mugabe Shrugs Off Bishops´ Attack

Prelates Say He Has Lost the Moral Right to Govern

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

HARARE, Zimbabwe, MAY 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- President Robert Mugabe seemed unfazed after the nation´s Catholic bishops declared that he and other politicians had lost the moral right to govern by permitting violence and lawlessness for political gain, the Associated Press reported.

A pastoral letter by the bishops especially denounced the seizure by ruling party militants of white-owned farms and a resulting escalation of political violence over the past year. Violence during elections in June killed at least 32 people, mostly opposition supporters.

«We just want our soil,´´ Mugabe said Wednesday at the funeral of a major ruling party official. «It belongs to us. Let those who think a job on a white man´s farm is worth the price of the landless, who are the vast majority of our people, think again.»

In the pastoral letter to be read out in churches across the country, the nine bishops said Mugabe — a Catholic — and other leaders had abused their countrymen by denying them «the inherent right´´ to take part in political activities.

«There is no other sanction we can give them except the sanction of Hell,´´ Bishop Patrick Mutume, head of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, told reporters as he released the pastoral letter.

Mugabe, 77, has refused repeated requests over the past four years to meet with a delegation of bishops. Catholics account for about one fifth of Zimbabwe´s 12.5 million people.

Mugabe has ordered police not to remove the militants from more than 1,700 white-owned farms they have occupied. He has described the seizures — led by veterans of the bush war that led to independence in 1980 — as a justified protest against unfair land ownership by the descendants of British-colonial era settlers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation