|Archbishop Ncube spoke to Al Jazeera |
during a visit to Australia
Outspoken Zimbabwean archbishop Pius Ncube has said he is prepared to sacrifice his own life for the future of his homeland.
In an interview with Al Jazeera the Catholic leader of Bulawayo attacked the Zimbabwean government, defying a warning from Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, that bishops are treading a "dangerous path" if they become too political.
"The man is no longer people-centric, he is ego-centric. He has no feeling for his people," Ncube said, speaking during a visit to Australia.
"There is so much suffering in that country, if he was sensible he would be resigning. He has become really evil."
With unemployment at 80 per cent, inflation soaring above 2,000 per cent, and food, fuel and foreign currency shortages, Zimbabwe is a country in a crisis.
Most point the finger of blame at one man: President Mugabe.
he opposition leaders must put their act together and generate confidence among the people"
Archbishop Pius Ncube
Ncube said he was speaking out to increase international pressure on Mugabe – also a Catholic - to step down. It is a mission he admits could cost him his life.
"Christ died for what he was convinced and in Chrsitianity we teach we must be ready to die for what we believe, for what we’re convinced."
"There’s no reason for them to kill me. I’m not doing this viciously. I’m not against anyone. I’m simply calling them to their duty. It's because I love my country that I speak up."
But the archbishop wishes he had spoken out more in the past, even calling himself a coward.
"Rarely have I really led," he said.
"Now and then I have led peaceful marches but when I look at what they did in South Africa the churches were very strong there, sometimes knelt in front of blazing guns."
|Mugabe says he has no intention |
of standing down [Reuters]
Asked if he felt Zimbabweans had lost hope of political change, he said it was important for opposition leaders to overcome their divisions and work together.
"The people would be ready to lay down their lives, but they will only lay down their lives if the leader is credible.
"If the leader is vacillating, unfocussed, inconsistent then people are not going to lay down their lives for such a person. So the opposition leaders must put their act together and generate confidence among the people."
Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is currently recovering from a fractured skull after police broke up a prayer meeting he was attending.
Archbishop Ncube says he will never join a political party but believes it is his duty to help his people help themselves.
Zimbabweans, he said, need to "get up on your feet and do something about the situation".
A new constitution and electoral reforms will be important in turning Zimbabwe’s fortunes around, he said, but only after Robert Mugabe steps down.
"Don’t just say we can't do, don't be so afraid," he said.
"It is a very easy excuse to say we are leaving things up to God. God only helps those who help themselves."
Source: Al Jazeera