.- The embattled Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, has received the backing of his fellow Zimbabwean bishops. The show of support came in the form of a full-page ad in the Herald Newspaper where they called the governmentâs alleged smear campaign âoutrageous and utterly deplorable.â
The nine bishops of Zimbabwe took out a full-page advertisement, in which they said he had "exposed the evils" of the government. His brother bishops even went so far as to say that the attacks on Archbishop Ncube by the government and state media were, "outrageous and utterly deplorable and constitute an assault on the Catholic Church".
The media blitz against the archbishop has involved the distribution of DVDs purporting to show the prelate having sex with several different women. However, it is unclear if the DVDs have been edited to make it appear as though it is the archbishop been shown.
In his most recent appearance, Archbishop Ncube did not deny having had the affair, but was forced to cut his words short by Zimbabwean police who dispersed the meeting.
The husband of the woman alleged to have had an affair with the archbishop, Mr. Onesimus Sibanda, has filed a lawsuit demanding 20bn Zimbabwe dollars (about $160,000 on the black market exchange rate) in damages from the archbishop.
His lawyers called the allegations an orchestrated attempt to discredit him.
Ncube has been the most vocal critic of President Robert Mugabe, whose rule has been marked by allegations of large-scale corruption, cronyism, and an inflation rate of 7,500%.
In other Zimbabwe-related news, South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has again ruled out any attempt to try to change the government in Zimbabwe, saying â[w]e are not going to be involved in any regime change.â
Mbeki has been tasked with trying to mediate Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.