BY LUKE COPPEN
A ZIMBABWEAN archbishop said he was saddened, but not surprised, that President Robert Mugabe was re-elected last week after a closely fought presidential election.
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo said he agreed with most local and international observers that the results of the election were rigged.
Mr Mugabe clinched victory over Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai on March 13 in the bitterly contested election. Mr Tsvangirai had posed the biggest challenge to Mugabe's 22-year rule.
"It was clear that the result would turn out this way," Archbishop Ncube said, citing mass attests and harassment of opposition leaders and supporters, disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of eligible voters, and widespread reports of electoral fraud.
-The numbers are unrealistic. They [Mr Mugabe's ZANUPF party] played around with the numbers to keep themselves on top." Archbishop Ncube said.
The archbishop said that ballot boxes were kept out of sight of election observers so that the ballots "could have been stuffed with votes for the ruling party".
He claimed that police in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, and Harare, the capital, were "beating people up" so that they wouldn't protest Mugabe's victory.
"They want them to become afraid and to accept the result for the sake of peace." he said.
'mere is no food in the country, unemployment is at 75 per cent and 80 per cent of our people are now living below the poverty line," Archbishop Ncube said. "Things have never been so bad in Zimbabwe." "DEAR BROTHERS and sisters, Psalm 77 (76) is a prayer of lamentation and a plea for God's help at the beginning of a new day.
"The psalmist, in his sorrow, is tempted to ask if God has forgotten his promises and abandoned his people.
"Yet he does not lose faith; with renewed hope he ponders God's saving works in the past, when he led his people through the Red Sea by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
"This remembrance of Israel's past experience of salvation becomes a profession of faith in God's continued presence and saving power.
"The psalm concludes with the image of God walking through the mighty waters (v. 20) at the head of his people. which Christians read as a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ who walked on the waters (cf. Jn 16:6-20) and even now guides the church through faith to the fullness of salvation.
"I warmly welcome the Latin students of the Katedralskolan in Skara, Sweden, and the students of the Egmont Hojskollen in Denmark. I thank the choir from Phoenix for their praise of God in song.
"Upon all the Englishspeaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's audience, especially those from England, Japan and the United States, I cordially invoke the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ."