Britain could invade Zimbabwe: archbishop
From correspondents in London
July 01 2007
Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, gained independence from Britain in 1980.
BRITAIN would be justified in invading Zimbabwe, a former British colony, to remove President Robert Mugabe, a leading archbishop has said.
The Roman Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube told London's Sunday Times the deepening destitution in his country, including millions going hungry and the world's highest inflation rate, meant Britain would be right to act.
"I think it is justified for Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe," he said.
"We should do it ourselves but there's too much fear. I'm ready to lead the people, guns blazing, but the people are not ready."
Archbishop Ncube said the president was squandering money while the people starved and had just spent $US2 million ($A2.37 million) on surveillance equipment while most people struggled along on $US2 ($A2.37) a week.
"How can you expect people to rise up when even our church services are attended by state intelligence people?" the archbishop said.
Zimbabwean Government officials were not available for immediate comment today.
In the past, Mugabe's Government has branded Archbishop Ncube a Western agent helping to co-ordinate a propaganda campaign against Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party as part of a drive to oust it from power.
In May, Mugabe dismissed repeated criticism from the country's Catholic bishops as "nonsense" and warned that his Government could start treating the clergy as political enemies.
There are around one million Catholics among Zimbabwe's 13 million people.
Once one of the most buoyant economies in southern Africa, with a well-educated population, Zimbabwe's economy is now in ruins, with unemployment of 80 per cent and life expectancy tumbling to 37 years for men and 34 years for women.