South African cardinal calls for total isolation of ‘obstinate Pharaoh’ Mugabe
Cardinal Napier/ Robert Mugabe
Cardinal Napier/ Robert Mugabe

.- Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, OFM, speaking for the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, has called for relief for the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe and has asked that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe be isolated completely and deprived of support.

Comparing Mugabe to an obstinate Pharaoh, the cardinal archbishop of Durban on Thursday asked all African leaders to come to the aid of Zimbabwe. The country has suffered violence, food shortages and disease after civil conflict followed Mugabe's refusal to step down after the apparent electoral victory of his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai.

"We, the Catholic bishops of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, add our voice to the cries of those who insist that no effort must be spared in ensuring that a political solution to the current impasse is found," Cardinal Napier's statement began. Saying that South Africa has a "crucial role" to play in advancing justice and peace in Zimbabwe, the cardinal said that the bishops are "deeply saddened" that eight years of mediation has "borne no fruit." "These efforts were made in the hope that Robert Mugabe could be persuaded to negotiate with the opposition in the interests of the Common Good of the whole Zimbabwean nation," Cardinal Napier explained. "However, since he lost the election in March this year, he has continued to cling to power, waging war against anyone suspected of not supporting him, and refusing to share any real power with those who beat him in the election."

"It is clear that Mugabe is not prepared to relinquish control voluntarily, and that he is willing to watch thousands of innocent people die of starvation and cholera as long as he is able to retain power."

"Like Pharaoh he is obstinate and refuses to listen to the people," the cardinal said, referencing the Book of Exodus. He reported that the bishops were "extremely disappointed" in the failure of the South African Development Community leadership, including the South African president, to relieve the situation. Cardinal Napier called attempts to blame all sides in Zimbabwe's conflict "a travesty of justice and truth."

He said that Zimbabwe's opposition party has made "major concessions" not reciprocated by Mugabe and his ruling ZANU party, which "must bear total responsibility for the current impasse."

"It is now time to isolate Mugabe completely and to remove all forms of moral, material or tacit support for him and his party," he said. Referring to descriptions of Mugabe as a "liberator" or an "Elder African Statesman," he added: "No true liberator or statesman clings ruthlessly to power, as Mugabe has done, while his people live and die in misery and destitution. No solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe is possible as long as he is there."

Rebuking African leaders who believe they are defending Mugabe against "the supposed machinations of former colonial and present imperial powers," Cardinal Napier called on them to re-direct their solidarity to the needs of the suffering people of Zimbabwe. "The South African Government has the capacity to force Mugabe to go. All that is lacking is the political will," the cardinal argued. "We therefore call on President Motlanthe to stop immediately all collusion with Mugabe and to cut off any life-blood that South Africa is offering him," he said, calling for electricity and fuel supplies to be severed and for the assets of Zimbabwean leaders to be frozen.

Cardinal Napier then concluded the statement of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, saying: "We express our deepest solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe at this desperate time. We recommit ourselves and our people to praying that they will be able to unite and to have the courage and the strength to persevere in the struggle to remove the evil brought on them by Mugabe's dictatorship and the armed forces he uses to enforce it."

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »


Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: