Update on the situation in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean newspaper has more information about the developing situation in Zimbabwe.

“President Mugabe is most anxious to neutralize the Christian church and give the world the impression it sides with him against his critics.

On March 11 police crushed a prayer meeting that led to world press publicity against the entrenched Mugabe regime. Later Catholics issued a pastoral statement that infuriated Mugabe.

Zanu (PF) ‘spin doctors’ assert that ‘rebel’ Catholics are led by the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube who (they claim) is in the pay of Prime Minister Tony Blair and the British Government.

Reacting to the Anglican message, Eddie Cross of the MDC said that Zimbabwean Anglicans are in a difficult position. ‘Perhaps they should withdraw from all congregations that are led by Bishop Nolbert,’ he suggested. ‘Or join a church that is not so myopic in its views.’

Meantime, Anglicans in the UK are waiting to hear from the Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Revd Nicholas Baines. He flew to Harare on Easter Tuesday and is expected to inform Lambeth Palace about the situation in Zimbabwe.

Sources told The Zimbabwean that Bishop Nick was anxious not to meet Bishop Nolbert who most Anglicans say has disgraced the 75 million strong worldwide community. ‘The Zimbabweans have been very clear that we should visit them at their points of weakness and not just wait until everything is OK,’ he said before his departure.”

Read the rest here: The Zimbabwean – An Independent Zimbabwe Newspaper

Hat tip to Kendall Harmon at titusonenine for pointing out the article

UPDATED info after the jump:

More information from here: Anglican statement not meant to be pro-Mugabe, says bishop

Bishop Mwamba, who gave a keynote address to senior judges and others at the Ecclesiastical Law Society Conference in Liverpool earlier this year (News, 2 February), said on Tuesday that the letter had to be seen in the context of the Anglican situation in Zimbabwe. The spirit in which it had been sent was to support the progressive forces and the need for change, and was not in any way meant to be pro-Mugabe, he said.

Choosing his words carefully, the Bishop commented: “As you can imagine, in Zimbabwe there are divisions within the Church itself, and so there was a need to wean certain hearts and minds to be able to put forward a statement all the bishops could subscribe to.

“In that sense, yes, it does not appear as sharp as the pastoral letter from the Catholic bishops. It took a middle-of-the-road pastoral approach. Nevertheless, the sting is there in calling for drastic change, for the government to be called upon to create a conducive environment for that, and for the Church to stand forward and speak sharply in the context of its calling and prophetic ministry.” The Bishop described it as “the beginning of a long journey of bishops moving together — very gently, for need of carrying certain of our friends along.”

Bishop Baines added his own view of the story. He made unwanted headlines himself while on a ten-day visit with 20 members of his diocese as guests of Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda (News, 5 April). Under the headline “Media lies about Zim — British clergyman”, a Herald story said that Bishop Baines had “criticised his country’s media for peddling lies about the situation in Zimbabwe, and said London has no right to dictate how Harare should run its affairs.”

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