Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo urged Zimbabweans Thursday to unite against President Robert Mugabe and put their lives on the line if necessary.

The cleric, long known for his outspoken opposition to Mr. Mugabe, was speaking in Harare at a news conference organized by the Christian Alliance, a Bulawayo-based group of religious leaders formed in 2005 to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of a forced-eviction and demolition campaign waged by the government.

Ncube once declared that he prayed for the death of President Mugabe, who turned 83 in February. Mr. Mugabe was brought up a Catholic and taught by priests.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported for VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.

Ncube was expected to lead a protest in the coming days in Bulawayo sponsored by the Christian Alliance. A spokesman for the group, Pius Wakatama, said no date had been set yet for the march accompanied by hymns and prayers.

Clerics will pursue other peaceful forms of protest, he added.

For more on how clerics are addressing the crisis, reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Pastor Lucky Moyo of the Christian Alliance.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...