Sentamu calls for ouster of Mugabe

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, says that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe should be removed from power and stand trial for crimes against humanity.

The BBC says that Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga agrees.

His comments are some of the strongest by an African leader against Mr Mugabe, says the BBC’s Karen Allen in Nairobi.

“It’s time for African governments… to push him out of power,” Mr Odinga said after talks with Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Sentamu writes:

When Jesus Christ wanted people to know what he was doing, he chose a passage from the Old Testament to describe his mission. It was a passage from the prophet Isaiah, written to encourage a disillusioned and demoralised people. It looked forward to a new day when there would be justice for people being treated unjustly and in poverty and release for the oppressed. It promised new life for the present and hope for the future.

President Robert Mugabe was right when he said only God could remove him. That’s exactly what happens. No tyrant lives for ever. No cruel regime lasts. God acts. And he is acting. An international chorus is at last being raised to bring an end to Mugabe’s brutal regime.

As cholera devastates a Zimbabwe already on its knees, our Prime Minister, our Foreign Secretary and the US Secretary of State have all called for an end to the regime of Mugabe. Now these voices must unite for a further call to bring an end to the charade of power-sharing that has enabled Mugabe to remain in office, assisted by his ruthless politburo.

Mugabe and his corrupt regime must go. Lord Acton said: ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ How can anyone share power in a thoroughly corrupt regime?

The Guardian reports:

The Archbishop’s attack came as Gordon Brown also stepped up the rhetoric yesterday, calling the Zimbabwean government a ‘blood-stained regime’ and urging the international community to tell Mugabe ‘enough is enough’. The Prime Minister said food shortages and the cholera epidemic had become an ‘international rather than a national emergency’ that demanded a co-ordinated response.

‘We must stand together to defend human rights and democracy, to say firmly to Mugabe that enough is enough,’ he said. ‘The whole world is angry because they see avoidable deaths – of children, mothers, and families affected by a disease that could have been avoided. This is a humanitarian catastrophe. This is a breakdown in civil society.’ Brown said he hoped the UN Security Council would meet ‘urgently’. But Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg went further, saying the UN should now declare the use of military force was justified: ‘The world has sat idly by while Mugabe has brutalised his own people for too long. Economic recession in the West has led the world to avert its gaze from the suffering in Zimbabwe. Further international inaction would be inexcusable.’

South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Dutch TV that Mugabe must stand down or be removed ‘by force’. But while Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said it was time for African governments to ‘take decisive action to push him out of power’, there has been little sign that Zimbabwe’s neighbours were prepared to move against him. The growing international fury came as cholera ravaged the people – 575 have died and 13,000 are infected – and the economy is worse than anything the world has seen.

Read the ABY’s essay here.

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