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Oust Mugabe, says Sentamu

13 December 2007

by Bill Bowder

Cutting comment: the Archbishop of York on BBC television last Sunday bbc

Cutting comment: the Archbishop of York on BBC television last Sunday bbc

THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, who cut up his clerical collar on BBC TV on Sunday in protest at Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe, has subsequently called on European politicians to help oust the President.

He followed up his dramatic gesture in an article in the Yorkshire Post on Monday. “As a clergyman, I am identified by wearing a dog collar,” he wrote. “On Sunday, I cut up my dog collar during a television interview, and will not wear it again until Mugabe has gone. The people of Zimbabwe have lost their identity. Until democracy and good governance return, the spiral of poverty, brutality, and economic chaos will continue.

  “Those European governments who sat down with Mugabe must now bring his appalling treatment of his countrymen and women to the UN, and provide the moral and legal framework for a response that ousts Mugabe and frees the people of Zimbabwe. Our Government needs to hear our voices raised as one to take action and put pressure on the UN,” he said.

Individuals could also help through British charities such as Christian Aid, Tearfund, and CAFOD, which were working in Zimbabwe alongside churches, youth groups, and mothers to feed the starving and heal the sick who were in desperate need, Dr Sentamu said.

“If we each gave just £1, we could begin to alleviate the worst of the suffering at the most basic level, while calling on our leaders to bring about representative democracy at the highest level.”

Dr Sentamu surprised the presenter, Andrew Marr, on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, when he removed his clerical collar and cut it into pieces, asking Mr Marr to keep them for him “until the day when Zimbabwe is free”.

He said that when the world complained about the behaviour of black leaders, it was regarded as a form of colonialism. “I’m sorry: I don’t buy this. Africa and all the world have got to liberate Africa from this mental slavery and this colonial mentality — whenever there’s anything, you blame someone else instead of yourself.”

European leaders met President Mugabe at the African EU summit in Lisbon last week, despite the EU’s ban on him and members of his government from travelling to Europe. Gordon Brown refused to attend because of Mr Mugabe’s presence.

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