The initiative, revealed as senior churchmen met in Egypt yesterday, is
one of several designed to express solidarity with people suffering
under Robert Mugabe’s regime. The role will be similar to that
exercised by the bishop of Lichfield, Keith Sutton, who was sent to
South Africa during the 1980s, and Terry Waite, who secured the release
of hostages in Iran and the Lebanon.
Other plans include a meeting between senior churchmen, African
political leaders and the president of the African Union, and mustering
the resources of Lambeth Palace to improve the distribution of food and
other material aid.
The archbishops and senior bishops of the Anglican Communion spoke in
Alexandria yesterday of their horror regarding the situation in
Zimbabwe. In a statement they said: "There appears to be a total
disregard for life, consistently demonstrated by Mr Mugabe through
systemic kidnap, torture and the killing of Zimbabwean people. The
economy has collapsed. We call for upon President Robert Mugabe to
respect the elections of 2008 and step down."
Of the 34 primates meeting to discuss regional and international
concerns, a third are from African provinces, representing more than
half of Anglicans worldwide. It is the first time the most senior
figures of the communion have come together to condemn Mugabe, and they
warned that a power-sharing agreement might not be long lasting and
might simply further "entrench" his regime.
The primate of South Africa, Thabo Makgoba, demanded targeted sanctions
but stopped short of supporting military action. "We don’t want another
massacre. We don’t want Kenya repeated or Rwanda. People are being
killed and it is our Christian duty to intervene before the issue
becomes more bloody."