Archbishop: Zimbabweans Desperate for New Leader

Report Accuses Mugabe of Violent Repression

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BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, JULY 13, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Our people are desperate for President Robert Mugabe to relinquish power, said Archbishop Pius Ncube.



Archbishop Ncube of Bulawayo said this Tuesday, while launching a report titled "Destructive Engagement: Violence, Mediation and Politics in Zimbabwe," published by the Solidarity Peace Trust, a Church-based nongovernmental organization working for justice and peace in the country.

Archbishop Ncube urged the president to step down as the country sinks deeper into political and economic woes, according to the Catholic Information Service of Africa.

"Mugabe is a man who is a megalomaniac. He loves power, he lives for power. Even his own party is appealing to him to step down," the archbishop said.

Torture

In the 44-page document, Mugabe's regime is accused of the continued use of violence against political opponents to maintain power.

"Out of 414 individuals interviewed, 30%, or 122, reported torture between March, April and May 2007," the report said. "This is a shockingly high figure, yet it represents (only a) tip of the iceberg in Zimbabwe.

"Apart from politically motivated torture, torture of those arrested on suspicion of having committed a criminal offence is routine in Zimbabwe."

The report added: "In 90% of the attacks, government agencies such as the police, the central intelligence organization, the criminal investigation department and the army" were involved.

More than three-quarters of reported cases were in the capital, Harare, "one of the two major urban areas considered to be opposition territory," it continued.

The report's launch came as President Mugabe ordered price cuts because of runaway inflation and widespread shortages.

The Catholic Information Service of Africa reported that more than 1,300 supermarket managers and owners have been arrested for refusing to sell their merchandise at the lower prices.