British archbishop calls for Mugabe to leave office

December 7th, 2008 - 8:16 am ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownLondon, Dec 7 (DPA) Citing the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe as yet another sign of ruin in Zimbabwe, a top ranking official in Britain’s Anglican Church Sunday added his voice to the calls for President Robert Mugabe to be forced out of office and put on trial in the Hague.The call by John Sentamu, the archbishop of York and second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the church hierarchy, followed similar urgings from South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, who Friday called for the international community to intervene.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have in recent days also called for Mugabe to step down.

Sentamu wrote in the Sunday Observer newspaper that the cholera epidemic showed the situation had deteriorated to the point where it demanded an international response.

“The time has come for Mugabe to answer for his crimes against humanity, against his countrymen and women and for justice to be done,” Senatmu wrote.

“The winds of change that once brought hope to Zimbabwe and its neighbours have become a hurricane of destruction with the outbreak of cholera, destitution, starvation and systemic abuse of power by the state,” he wrote.

Saturday, Brown called for “international” action to remove Mugabe as the southern Africa nation sank further into political and social crisis.

The British premier said the international community had to show Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence 28 years ago, that “enough is enough.”

In light of the cholera outbreak, the situation in Zimbabwe was no longer a national emergency for Zimbabwe but an international one, Brown said.

Cholera in Zimbabwe has claimed close to 600 lives since its outbreak in August due to a breakdown of the country’s infrastructure. Hundreds of Zimbabweans ill with cholera have fled across the border to South Africa to seek treatment.

The UN says about half the estimated population of 13 million is in need of food aid. Government hospitals have been closed for a month as doctors and nurses strike over pay and conditions.

In the southern African country, Zimbabwe soldiers have been rioting over their inability to get cash from banks in Harare.

People have been sleeping outside bank branches hoping to withdraw cash as soon as possible before it deflates, leading to banks running out of cash.

Critics attribute the ongoing financial and food crisis to Robert Mugabe’s violent land reform programme embarked upon in the year 2000 that saw farms wrested away from experienced white commercial farmers given to Mugabe’s inexperienced black supporters.

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