Outspoken Zimbabwean archbishop says government still wants him dead

pius_ncubeCape Town - The former archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, said agents of his country's government still want to assassinate him over his criticism of human rights violations under President Robert Mugabe. (Pictured: Archbishop Pius Ncube)

Archbishop Pius Ncube, 62, who now lives in western Zimbabwe’s Hwange Diocese, made his claims in a letter to South Africa’s national Catholic weekly, The Southern Cross, with the request that Catholics pray for him.

The Southern Cross published Archbishop Ncube’s letter in its Sept. 2 edition. Before his resignation as head of the Bulawayo Archdiocese in September 2007 after having had an affair with a woman, Archbishop Ncube was internationally known as one of Mugabe’s most vocal critics. Mugabe has frequently attacked Archbishop Ncube in speeches and interviews. Even before his resignation, the archbishop said he was being harassed routinely. “Where I now live, every two weeks the state intelligence is there to visit me, which they never did when I was in Bulawayo. I now refuse to talk to them,” he told The Southern Cross.

He said he was being followed by car and alleged that his telephone and fax lines were being tampered with. Communications are intercepted and blocked or delayed, Archbishop Ncube said. “My attitude is that the government of Zimbabwe has no right to hound me and get me out of Zimbabwe,” he said. “I have a right and duty to live in Zimbabwe. This has been their method to intimidate thousands of their critics so that they leave the country.” He said that, “in compliance with the suggestions from the Vatican,” he has abstained from publicly criticizing the government, “a thing which is alien to my convictions.” “I do not agree with quiet diplomacy when people are suffering,” he said.

However, he added, that those who are harassing him “are not more powerful than God and our spiritual mother Mary.” “I ask the people of God to help me by their prayers for my protection,” he said. “I thank all those who pray for me. I will continue to pray for the delivery of Africa from tyranny.” In his letter, Archbishop Ncube referred to an incident last year when a bomb he believes was intended to kill him injured a priest instead. On April 6, 2008, Archbishop Ncube was still out of the country, but the government allegedly heard a rumor that he had returned. “They therefore made an arrangement to kill me,” Archbishop Ncube said. “They planted a bomb in my car.

A priest used my car,” he said, and about 12 miles from Bulawayo the priest – whom Archbishop Ncube declined to name to protect him from repercussions – noticed that he was being followed by two cars. Archbishop Ncube alleged that the people following the priest “detonated a bomb and the (priest’s) car swerved and fell into the ditch.” He added that he had been advised to get a driver for security reasons, and the bomb specifically targeted the passenger side of the vehicle. “Had the bomb been directed to the driver, this priest would have died instantly,” the archbishop said. While the priest was lightly injured and covered in debris, the cars that had followed him passed without stopping or investigating. “A third car, driven by a Chinese man, stopped nearby,” Archbishop Ncube said. The driver allegedly proceeded to take photographs of the scene. “The priest asked (the man) why he did not help him rather than photograph him, since he was injured. (The man) nervously scurried away and drove off fast,” Archbishop Ncube said, adding that it was nearly four hours before the priest was taken to a hospital.

Post published in: Opinions

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