Letter of August 1 st 2004 from Jacques Gaillot
A courageous interview





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A courageous interview

Pius Ncube This summer, I am pleased to let you know the comments made by Msgr. Puis Ncube, Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, to F. Py and published in Le Monde newspaper on July 1, 2004. 

The Zimbabwe government maintains that the country does not need international help for food. What do you think?

pas des réserves I traveled all through the country and most of the people told me that they will have nothing to eat by the end of August; in certain places, by next month, the reserves of food will run out. The government is lying when it says that our cereal production is sufficient. 
Why would the government lie?

Next year we will have the legislative elections. They are importing from South Africa 300 000 tons of corn that they are going to use for political purposes. They want to force people to vote for them, food against vote. They want to get rid of the international community in order that nobody could see the dreadful things they are doing here.
What actions the Church can take in Zimbabwe?

They can denounce the violations of Human Rights. But there is so much intimidation that it is not easy. They don't attack me directly, they just try to discredit me by saying in the media that I am corrupted, that I am a puppet in the hands of Great Britain or the United States, that I am always lying. Twice, State secret service agents came to visit my 88-year-old mother. They wanted to make me afraid. Each time I celebrate mass, there are secret service agents in the congregation. It is a way to intimidate me.
Do you get the support from the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe?

Not from all the Church. The power can buy the people. The Church in Zimbabwe is divided between those who are for the government and those against it.
Does the Vatican help you in your struggle?

Not directly. The Vatican would like to hear all the Bishops of Zimbabwe speaking with one voice, but it is not the case. Bishops like me who speak openly are not well liked. Last year the Pope was concerned by the Human Rights situation, Democracy and respect of the Law. He sent a strong message to the president Mugabe.
Could there still be a possible negotiation between the government and the opposition?

The government does not want to negotiate. It wants power. There has been no discussion with the opposition since June 2003.
Great Britain is very critical about M. Mugabe, South Africa favors "secret diplomacy" What kind of diplomacy would work?

pouvoir None. Mugabe has with him all the African Heads of State. They are a club and help each other. They never do anything. They did nothing for Rwanda. Millions of people died in Democratic Republic of Congo, they did nothing. 
There are thousands of transferred people in Darfur (West of Sudan), they do nothing. They are just there to flock together and they don't care about the suffering of the people. What is important for them is power. I don't see any efficient diplomacy. Many tried to speak to Mugabe, Church officials, Non-governmental Organizations, Ambassadors, United Nations. He does not care.
What can Zimbabwe do to get out of the crisis?

(A sigh.) As long as Mugabe is there, frankly I don't see a solution. Even among his government, there are only people saying "yes! yes! yes!" to all he says. Between ZANU-PF party (Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front, the party in power), nobody has the courage to speak. It is sometime said that ZANU is divided, but Mugabe is ZANU, without him there is no ZANU.
The government accuses you to support the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)?

opposent Every body that opposes him is considered close to MDC. They would like us to be obedient. I don't want to stay silent in the face of the suffering of my country. They know that they are doing dreadful things in Zimbabwe, but they will never admit it.