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archbishop urges peaceful uprising
LONDON - A prominent
Zimbabwean archbishop has called for a peaceful popular uprising
to overthrow President Robert Mugabe after elections this week which
the ruling party is widely expected to win.
Pius Ncube told BBC radio on Monday Mugabe had intimidated opposition
supporters and would rig Thursday's general election.
need to be educated into the process. Something like what Mahatma
Gandhi did, educating his people to be aware of their dignity and
to stand for their rights even if it meant suffering disadvantage,"
said the long-time Mugabe critic and archbishop of Zimbabwe's second
"I am simply
backing a non-violent popular uprising, like that in the Philippines
in 1986 and such as in Ukraine," he was quoted in the Independent
as saying, in reference to Ukraine's 2004 "Orange" revolution.
has been in power since the end of white minority rule in the former
British colony in 1980.
by the international community as a role model, he has spent the
past five years cast as a pariah amid charges he rigged the last
major parliamentary vote in 2000 to ensure his ruling ZANU-PF party
won and his own re-election as president in 2002.
Under the pressure
of the mass eviction of white commercial farmers since 2000, the
backbone of the once thriving agrarian economy has snapped leading
to hyper inflation, massive unemployment and critical food shortages.
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says political violence
has dropped this year ahead of Thursday's poll but says the government
has kept the voter roll in a shambles and intimidation continues.
The MDC and
many other critics say there are hundreds of thousands of non-existent
"ghost" voters on the register to allow the government
to rig the election.
In an interview
with Sky News on Sunday, Ncube accused Mugabe's government of starving
opposition supporters, saying emergency food stations turned away
those who did not support the ruling party.
really like a black dictatorship and in many ways worse than a white
dictatorship because under the white dictatorship at least they
would allow food to flow. But they (ZANU-PF) have stopped non-governmental
organisations from helping the people," he said.
denies the accusations.
Ncube said the
president's party would win Thursday's election comfortably.
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