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Archive for Thursday, October 20, 2005

Archbishop warns of food catastrophe

October 20, 2005

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— A Zimbabwean archbishop said Wednesday he feared 200,000 of his countrymen could die by early next year because of food shortages he blamed on his government, and called for President Robert Mugabe's ouster.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, a frequent critic of Mugabe, spoke at a news conference called to show a new film on "Operation Murambatsvina," a widely condemned government campaign that critics charge has left tens of thousands of Zimbabweans trapped in a spiral of poverty, hunger and displacement.

"I think Mugabe should just be banished, like what happened to Charles Taylor. He should just be banished from Zimbabwe," said Ncube, referring to the former Liberian president forced into exile in Nigeria.

"Let the man get banished if you don't want Zimbabweans to die," said Ncube, responding to questions about what the international community could do to help Zimbabwe.

The archbishop said food security in Zimbabwe was so precarious that unless there is a dramatic change, malnutrition could contribute to the premature deaths of 200,000 people by February.

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