Pius Ncube and the Ndebele language policy in the Bulawayo Diocese

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Tue Feb 28 14:26:35 UTC 2006

Forwarded from All-Africa Global Media (allAfrica.com)

Excommunicate Pius Ncube

The Herald (Harare)
February 27, 2006
Posted to the web February 27, 2006

By Tichaendepi Chuma

THE recent utterances through Short Wave Radio Africa by Roman Catholic
Church Archbishop for Bulawayo Diocese, Pius Ncube, urging the
international community, South Africa in particular, to exert more
pressure on Zimbabwe to carry out political reforms, should be seen as
views from a demented clergyman who has not only become dangerous to
himself but to the institution of the Church as well. The Bishop should
not take Zimbabweans to be a gullible lot ready to dance to his parochial
whims. His utterances point to a man with a terrible neurotic resentment
of Zanu-PF, a party he wanted destroyed yesterday, even if that means
derailing the country into poverty. That is Pius Ncube, the notorious
Roman Catholic clergyman.

The Roman Catholic Church must realise that by continuing to keep Ncube
within its ranks it is destroying its credibility at least in the country,
if not in the region. Ncube's life is marked with a record of selling out
to the colonial white man and he must now be exposed for what he is. Ever
since he was ordained as a priest in 1973 at the height of the liberation
struggle, Ncube never criticised the colonial policies of Ian Smith's
government. Instead, Ncube chose to work closely with hard white racists
dating back to 1962 when he met Sister Desideria, a Catholic nun who
committed him to the Roman Catholic Church. Bishop Ncube is said to have
been indoctrinated by Sister Desideria that the Church had to stand
against black nationalist terrorism. The two struck a common ideological
orientation towards nationalist politics which saw Ncube being facilitated
to attain his licentice (attestation of competency) at the Vatican, Italy,
in 1974. During this period, Bishop Ncube was being used to undermine
black nationalism by preaching peace and unity.

Now it is the same Bishop Ncube who tells the nation that the Church
should stand up against "failing leaders" when it is him who never raised
his head from the sand to criticise racist and oppressive policies of
Smith. It is known that he prayed to Divine Providence to give Smith more
wisdom to govern (oppress and kill black people). Ncube unveiled his true
colours by praying for President Mugabe to die. This is the gravest of
sins coming from a man of the collar. Praying for the death of the head of
State? The Roman Catholic Church did not say a word to tame this
theological demagogue and megalomania! Surely the Church must stand
ashamed. During his recent media statements, Bishop Ncube asked South
Africa to put more pressure on Zimbabwe by imposing tough economic
sanctions by disconnecting electricity supplies to Zimbabwe. The people
should not forget that in 2002, MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai made the
same calls to South Africa to achieve regime change. Bishop Ncube has
teamed up with the MDC to vandalise the economy, all in the hope of
achieving regime change. The Bishop is known to have a hand on who should
be included in the West's list of the so-called targeted sanctions.

This author has always warned that sanctions are a scotched earth policy.
There is absolutely no such thing as targeted sanctions. They can never be
selective. In fact, they are intended to cause hardships within the
electorate so that the people revolt against their leaders. Zimbabweans
were duped by the likes of Bishop Ncube that sanctions would wreak havoc
within the First Family. Now the people must ask themselves who is in a
better situation, the First Family or the common man.

The practical issue is that when economic hardships bite, resources first
dry up at the lower ranks of society. This is the group that feels the
real pinch. The last to be affected by the sanctions are the powerful and
the rich. So, when small-headed people like Bishop Ncube went to campaign
for sanctions they did not know they were shooting themselves in the foot.
Happily, Zimbabweans have realised that it is the man on the street that
stands to suffer the most because of sanctions. No wonder why there are
growing public calls that Zanu-PF and the MDC should talk to each other to
end economic decline. Bishop Ncube should know that mass action, which he
has been preaching, does not work. Mass action has been tried since the
food riots of 1997 with no results. In fact, this writer will be putting a
separate installment on why mass actions will not work in Zimbabwe.

Those who had been deceived by Bishop Ncube that he stands for good need
to know the man. The Bishop has been taking a crucial role in recommending
bogus asylum seekers to get entry into the United Kingdom claiming that
they were under persecution by Zanu-PF. A case in point was in February
2005 when he misrepresented to the British visa office that Dominic Ncube,
his relative, was being harassed by Zanu-PF militias and war veterans in
Matabeleland North for working for the MDC. Bishop Ncube claimed that
Zanu-PF supporters and war veterans had visited Dominic's homestead on
three occasions. As a result, Dominic got the visa. On many occasions,
Bishop Ncube gave interviews to pirate radio stations broadcasting into
Zimbabwe, in all instances demonising, vilifying and ridiculing the
Government of Zimbabwe. Among the litany of such interviews was in August
2005 when he told Kenny White, a Voice of America reporter, that the Roman
Catholic Church had advised the Government to halt Operation
Murambatsvina. He took the occasion to attack President Mugabe for being
arrogant when he refused to talk to the MDC. The Bishop further said
President Mugabe was starving his own people by refusing to accept food
pledges from the donor community. He expressed disappointment at the
people's reluctance to stage a mass coup of the Government.

On 26 August 2004, Bishop Ncube was interviewed by Suzy Hodges of African
Radio, Italy. During the interview, Bishop Ncube applauded the MDC for
threatening to boycott the 2005 Parliamentary elections saying the
political landscape in Zimbabwe favoured Zanu-PF, a party he said was
harassing the opposition through the Public Order and Security Act and the
State media. He described the voters' roll as being in a shambles with 800
000 names of dead persons. He said corruption in Zanu-PF had ruined a once
sound economy. Turning to the international community, Bishop Ncube
chastised the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) for failing to
stand against Zimbabwe. Between 18 and 25 July 2004, Bishop Ncube visited
Britain to attend the launch of the Legal Defence Aid Fund meant to assist
victims of political violence. During this visit, Bishop Ncube met Prince
Charles but the meeting was not covered by the media, which feared that
any publicity would dent the ostensible neutrality of the British
Monarchy. Again Bishop Ncube lied to Prince Charles that Zanu-PF was
starving MDC supporters by denying them food handouts. He attached the
Non-Governmental Organisations Bill as draconian. From Britain, Bishop
Ncube went to Germany where he linked up with the Desideria family.

Bishop Ncube's actions must have really incensed President Mugabe who took
a bold swipe at him on 21 August 2004 during the inauguration of Robert
Christopher Ndlovu as Archbishop of Harare Diocese. President Mugabe
criticised Bishop Ncube for taking internal issues to former colonisers of
the country yet the Zimbabwean leader had an open door policy. The
President said Bishop Ncube had kept him waiting the whole of the other
day after an appointment. On the contrary, the Bishop would not miss a
meeting with the British Monarchy. Not that missing an appointment with
the President is inconceivable, but what is surprising is that Bishop
Ncube did not give an excuse before and thereafter, an indication of how
he despises the State President. By giving prominence to his meetings with
Prince Charles, Bishop Ncube is misdirecting himself by expecting
salvation from the British Monarchy.

He should not lose sight of the fact that it was the same monarchy that
signed the Charter in 1890 to colonise Zimbabwe, the first document in
Zimbabwe's constitutional history. Since he was ordained as the Archbishop
of the Bulawayo Diocese on 25 January 1998, Ncube heightened his
involvement in politics. He was instrumental in compiling the Catholic
Commission on Justice of Peace report alleging Government brutality in
Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces in the 1980s, calling for the
establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission. Bishop Ncube
facilitated the compilation of a Panorama, a British Broadcasting
Corporation documentary on alleged human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
His propensity to foment tribal hatred is fresh in the minds of many. In
August 2003, he introduced the infamous language policy in the Bulawayo
Diocese, decreeing that all sermons be in Ndebele, and English in some

This led to hostilities between the Ndebele and Shona followers resulting
in violent clashed on 13 August 2003 at St Patrick's Church in Makokoba.
Notwithstanding that there are more Shonas in Bulawayo than whites, Bishop
Ncube chose to put English ahead. This is the track record of the
notorious Bishop whose name has destroyed the reputation of the Catholic
Church, which now must act or risk being viewed as showing complicity
through non-action. Bishop Ncube has thrown away the standing doctrine
that the State and the Church are separate institutions with separate
roles. The role of the State is to provide for the temporal or mundane or
secular needs of the people while that of the Church is to provide for the
spiritual needs of man.

Bishop Ncube should now remove his religious cloak and put on a political
jacket. At the moment, he is wearing both with the Church garment inside.

Forwarded from All-Africa Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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