Former Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bulawayo Pius Ncube – known for criticising Government in the past – says President Mugabe is a “nice” and “diplomatic” person, and that Zimbabwe’s Head of State and Government is genuinely concerned with solvingthe country’s social and economic challenges. In his first interview with a newspaper in nine years, after falling from grace as the leader of the Bulawayo Diocese, Archbishop Emeritus Ncube denied that he was anti-President as is often reported.
He told The Sunday Mail Extra Editor, “It is not about being anti-President Mugabe or pro-Mugabe but it is about seeing to it that people’s expectations have been fulfilled. Zimbabwe is a rich country, we have all the minerals in the world, except maybe for oil, but to see our people suffering like they are, is wrong.
“(President) Mugabe is a fellow human being like me and we can expect him to make mistakes, just like any other human being.”
Archbishop Emeritus Ncube retold a meeting with President Mugabe in 2003.
“We visited the President in 2003, as the Catholic Bishops Conference and we spoke openly and honestly with him. We had prepared a document in which we listed all the problems that we felt needed to be addressed and he listened as we spoke. Then he responded, explaining very nicely and at times diplomatically on each and every point that we had raised in our one-hour presentation.
“We got the impression that he was trying to solve some of the issues that we raised, most of these issues were social issues.
“He received us very well. I remember by then one of the issues we raised was the deteriorating economy.”
Asked about the sex scandal which led to his resignation in 2007, Archbishop Emeritus Ncube said he would speak at the opportune time.
“I cannot say much at this time, because some of the stuff might affect some Catholics but the Government took it up and blew it out of proportion. Lots of statements, which were highly political, were made. So I shall let it lie. Probably after some time, say two or three years from now, I might sit down and write my memoirs, my version of what happened. Not just now. If I speak now I might injure some people. It appears it was never clear what happened.
“I will not answer that at this juncture. At one point I will state things clearly, probably within a few years, but not now. A lot of untruths were told but God’s power is great. I am in good health, God has blessed me with good health. I have no sugar problems, no blood pressure problems, I don’t have sleepless nights and I have lots of time for prayer, so I still have plenty of time to tell my story. And I will tell it one day.”
Since stepping down from leading the Bulawayo Diocese nine years ago, Archbishop Emeritus Ncube has been involved in pastoral work, including working on translation of the 700-page Catechism of the Catholic Church into iSiNdebele with other priests. He said he had been holding retreats for past five years, and had witnessed many miracles over the years.
“Though the Catholic Church believes in miracles, we don’t chase them, we let miracles happen naturally. I have been told of many miracles that have happened in the church. For instance, we have a member from one of our parishes who has been surviving only on Holy Communion for the past six years, because whatever food she eats she vomits.
“So a priest visits her three times a day to offer communion, that is a miracle, isn’t it? I have heard of a woman who had a sore neck which healed on a Good Friday as she was holding her cross. The stories are plenty.”-sundaymail