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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Blasts Archbishop

The spokesman for Zanu-PF Zimbabwe's ruling party has dismissed calls for a peaceful revolution by the people of Zimbabwe by Roman Catholic cleric Pius Ncube.

Nathan Shamuyarira, Zanu-PF's secretary for information and publicity, described the cleric, Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, as "a well known rabid opponent of the government."

Mr. Shamuyarira who was quoted in the state-controlled daily The Herald was responding to the archbishop's weekend call for Zimbabweans to rise against President Robert Mugabe's government after this week's poll which he says is certain to be rigged in favor of the ruling party.

Mr. Shamuyarira accused Archbishop Ncube of being a "mad inveterate liar." "He however, fits into the scheme of the British and Americans, who are calling for regime change and are feeding him with these wild ideas,'' Mr. Shamuyarira said.

Archbishop Ncube told VOA that despite the attack, he stands by what he said. He however doubts such an uprising can happen as according to him, the people of Zimbabwe lacked the courage and the leadership to stage a peaceful uprising. "Since the general strike in 2003 nothing has happened," he said.

He however ruled himself out of any leadership role for such an uprising saying that is up to the politicians to do that and the church can only lend moral support. Archbishop Ncube has clashed with the government over what he calls its misrule

The archbishop said contrary to government and ruling party denials, he knows of families that cannot buy food from the government's Grain Marketing Board, the sole marketer of cereal in the country for supporting the opposition MDC.