GOVERNMENT says it dismisses, with contempt, sentiments by Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu who called on Britain and the Western world to intensify their illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Responding to Archbishop Sentamu’s article carried by The Observer of September 16, the Minister of Information and Publicity, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said he found it surprising that a man of the cloth would want foreigners to meddle in Zimbabwe’s politics and call for intensified suffering of its people.
"It’s unfortunate that the Archbishop of York is on the forefront of calling for sanctions on Zimbabweans. This shows how the men of cloth are being used to dabble in the country’s politics. Is calling for the people suffering a human right?
"Zimbabweans are very clear on what they want and that is why they are coming together to solve their own problems. We don’t need foreigners to help us and that is why Archbishop Sentamu’s comments are misplaced. "Right now I am coming from Parliament were both Houses have voted unanimously for Constitutional Amendment No. 18 and that is what Zimbabwe wants. It is a clear testimony that we do not need foreigners to help us resolve our differences and to move forward," he said
Dr Ndlovu said the Sadc initiative on dialogue, which Dr Sentamu lampooned, should be viewed not as foreign intervention but as a brotherly move meant to solve Zimbabwe’s problems.
Archbishop Sentamu recently added his voice to the anti-Zimbabwe chorus accusing the Government of human rights violations, likening President Mugabe to the late Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and calling on Britain to lead the intensification of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The Ugandan-born archbishop joins his compatriots Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and disgraced former archbishop of Bulawayo Diocese Pius Ncube in calling for foreign intervention in Zimbabwe, which calls, observers said, went against the dictates of the holy canons of their respective churches.
These clerics’ support for the illegal sanctions is at variance with the progressive sentiments in Africa where Comesa and Sadc have spoken out against the sanctions. Archbishop Sentamu urged British premier Gordon Brown to lead a coalition of countries in mounting stricter international sanctions against Zimbabwe saying the Government was responsible for poverty and the general shortages of basic commodities.
"The time has come for Mr Brown, who has already shown himself to be an African interventionist through his work at the UN in favour of the people of Darfur, finally to slay the ghosts of Britain’s colonialist past by thoroughly revising foreign policy towards Zimbabwe and to lead the way in co-ordinating an international response," said Archbishop Sentamu.
Dr Ndlovu said Archbishop Sentamu’s sentiments were also timed to whip up emotions ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting that opens next week in New York.
"He (Sentamu) is trying to instigate and put a veil of crisis which is not there so as to brew trouble for Zimbabwe at the forthcoming UN General Assembly but the Zimbabwean Government is prepared to deal with such noises," he said.
Dr Ndlovu said the archbishop was advocating for the installation of a puppet government that would dance to Western demands and reverse the gains of independence.
Gordon Brown has raised hopes of a response to the crisis in Zimbabwe within days after the Archbishop of York urged him to take action against President Robert Mugabe.
The Prime Minister spoke to John Sentamu as the Archbishop publicly called on him to lead an international campaign against the Harare regime.
Dr Sentamu appeared encouraged by his conversation with the premier and expressed optimism that an announcement might be imminent.
The Archbishop disclosed that Mr Brown had watched a major BBC Newsnight report last week detailing the poverty and repression inflicted on Zimbabwe by Mr Mugabe.
"He's concerned," Dr Sentamu said. "I'm hoping the Prime Minister this week is going to make some kind of response."
The Archbishop went on to suggest the premier was sympathetic to concerns that an "African solution" did not appear to be forthcoming.
"He says part of the trouble has been whenever the international community has wanted to do something the African Union has said we will give it an African solution," Dr Sentamu told BBC1's Sunday AM. "But I don't think they're (going to), just as I don't think they've been successful in Darfur already."
The Archbishop called for a full boycott of the Zimbabwean economy and its sport.
He added that countries should also look at reducing Zimbabwe's embassy staff, alleging that their diplomatic privileges were used to take money out of the African nation.
Ahead of his conversation with the Prime Minister, Dr Sentamu penned an article for the Observer urging Mr Brown to look past Britain's "colonialist guilt" in the former Rhodesia.