Tutu vilified by Mugabe henchmen for pro-justice stance - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
February 10, 2005

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Tutu vilified by Mugabe henchmen for pro-justice stance

-10/02/05

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the internationally acclaimed South African church leader who stood against apartheid in the name of the Gospel, has received a verbal mauling from former allies (now servants of Robert Mugabeís regime) for criticising flagrant abuses of human rights in Zimbabwe.

Tutu told the South African and international media that Zimbabwe was "making a mockery of African democracy" ahead of the recent G7 rich world leadersí meeting. ìPeople should see that we really do care about things like freedom [and] justiceÖ for which we foughtî, he declared. ìWe've got to say [that] what is happening there is not acceptable. Say it in as friendly a manner as possible, but it is something we should say for the sake of all of us. It is not acceptable not to allow freedom of association, freedom of speech, and so on."

The Archbishop has been forthright in demanding that those who opposed the injustices of the old apartheid regime should not themselves become perpetrators of abuses against fellow human beings, ìwho are all made in the image of Godî. He has also criticised South African President Thabo Mbeki for failing to act decisively on the AIDS pandemic and for slow progress in lifting people out of poverty.

For his pains the Archbishop has been on the receiving end of a stream of invective, accusation and abuse from within the African National Congress in South Africa, though he has recently sought to patch up his relations with President Mbeki.

Now the Zimbabwean ruling party, Zanu-PF, sensitive to the widespread international criticism of their regime, has reacted to Archbishop Tutuís comments by angrily accusing him of ìworshipping false godsî in the shape of US President Bush and British PM Tony Blair.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration, Comrade Didymus Mutasa, went on to describe Archbishop Tutu as a puppet of the West, a vassal of imperialism, and ìa lost soulî. Church and human rights groups today described these accusations as ìludicrousî.

A Zimbabwean theologian, who is in hiding because of his involvement with a ëKairos Documentí similar to one drawn up by opponents of apartheid in the old South Africa, told Ekklesia that the response of Zanu-PF to ìa mild rebukeî showed them to be ìdesperate and isolated.î

The South African Kairos Document from the 1980s depicted the religious ideology of the apartheid regime as ìstate theologyî, in contrast to the ìprophetic theologyî of the Gospels. It also exposed the compromised ìchurch theologyî of those who hid behind ëneutralityí to avoid condemning the system.

The Zimbabwean theologian said that there were clear echoes, in the use of quasi-religious language by the Zimbabwean authorities to vilify Archbishop Tutu, of a similar ìstate theologyî being used to legitimise injustice and oppression today.

Archbishop Tutu, who faced harassment under the former apartheid regime for supporting international sanctions against it, later became known as an architect of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. He has also been a close ally of Nelson Mandela, who has voiced similar public and private concerns.

Find books now:

Tutu vilified by Mugabe henchmen for pro-justice stance

-10/02/05

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the internationally acclaimed South African church leader who stood against apartheid in the name of the Gospel, has received a verbal mauling from former allies (now servants of Robert Mugabeís regime) for criticising flagrant abuses of human rights in Zimbabwe.

Tutu told the South African and international media that Zimbabwe was "making a mockery of African democracy" ahead of the recent G7 rich world leadersí meeting. ìPeople should see that we really do care about things like freedom [and] justiceÖ for which we foughtî, he declared. ìWe've got to say [that] what is happening there is not acceptable. Say it in as friendly a manner as possible, but it is something we should say for the sake of all of us. It is not acceptable not to allow freedom of association, freedom of speech, and so on."

The Archbishop has been forthright in demanding that those who opposed the injustices of the old apartheid regime should not themselves become perpetrators of abuses against fellow human beings, ìwho are all made in the image of Godî. He has also criticised South African President Thabo Mbeki for failing to act decisively on the AIDS pandemic and for slow progress in lifting people out of poverty.

For his pains the Archbishop has been on the receiving end of a stream of invective, accusation and abuse from within the African National Congress in South Africa, though he has recently sought to patch up his relations with President Mbeki.

Now the Zimbabwean ruling party, Zanu-PF, sensitive to the widespread international criticism of their regime, has reacted to Archbishop Tutuís comments by angrily accusing him of ìworshipping false godsî in the shape of US President Bush and British PM Tony Blair.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration, Comrade Didymus Mutasa, went on to describe Archbishop Tutu as a puppet of the West, a vassal of imperialism, and ìa lost soulî. Church and human rights groups today described these accusations as ìludicrousî.

A Zimbabwean theologian, who is in hiding because of his involvement with a ëKairos Documentí similar to one drawn up by opponents of apartheid in the old South Africa, told Ekklesia that the response of Zanu-PF to ìa mild rebukeî showed them to be ìdesperate and isolated.î

The South African Kairos Document from the 1980s depicted the religious ideology of the apartheid regime as ìstate theologyî, in contrast to the ìprophetic theologyî of the Gospels. It also exposed the compromised ìchurch theologyî of those who hid behind ëneutralityí to avoid condemning the system.

The Zimbabwean theologian said that there were clear echoes, in the use of quasi-religious language by the Zimbabwean authorities to vilify Archbishop Tutu, of a similar ìstate theologyî being used to legitimise injustice and oppression today.

Archbishop Tutu, who faced harassment under the former apartheid regime for supporting international sanctions against it, later became known as an architect of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. He has also been a close ally of Nelson Mandela, who has voiced similar public and private concerns.

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