BBC NewsAndrew Marr Show


Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Sunday, 29 June 2008 12:06 UK

Leave mugabe isolated

On Sunday 29 June Andrew Marr interviewed Archbishop John Sentamu

Archbishop John Sentamu calls on British companies to 'stop trading' with Zimbabwe.

Archbishop John Sentamu
Archbishop John Sentamu

ANDREW MARR: Well you may remember John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, cutting up his dog collar in protest at Mugabe's regime on this programme.

Well he joins us now.

You heard what your fellow Archbishop Desmond Tutu said earlier.

Thus far everybody has been shying away from even talking about military intervention. Do you think that's sort of becoming thinkable now?

JOHN SENTAMU: I've always maintained that you need a United Nations Security resolution for that kind of action because I don't think it can simply be done unilaterally from my view, now that everybody knows that these elections were out of intimidation, they were not free, they were not fair.

And Mugabe has used the machinery of both the police and the army and his militias, to traumatise, kill, maim and rape, then really international action is absolutely required and I'd have thought that this is the first thing, this is what I have been calling for for a very, very long time, that his Embassy should be downgraded into sections of another Embassy.

And I would love to see the British government actually moving in that direction. I have been saying that it is his Embassies that he is using for money laundering, for getting in his luxury goods. So some action needs to be done and done pretty quickly.

ANDREW MARR: And what would you like to see Archbishop, coming out of this Sharm-el-Sheikh summit?

JOHN SENTAMU: I think what I'd like to see is that when Mugabe, should he turn up there, not be welcomed. And I'll plead with the president of Tanzania, who holds the chair, to say you're not welcome, because we believe that the elections which were done in March, the opposition won and you took really two months in order to massage the figures, and then to work out how you were going to brutalise your people so that you got this shambles of an election.

So they should actually first of all say you're not welcome, secondly they should not recognise him as president, should he be sworn in this morning. And then thirdly, they should call for tougher sanctions against him.

You know, Zimbabwe is a land-locked country and people can actually create a blockade which will prevent that country from doing whatever it is. You know I hold in my book, my hand a book called Gukurahundi which was politically motivated at first in 1983, 1987, and nobody actually ever stopped to do it, so please let us not sleep-walk into a crisis, this slow motion genocide which Mugabe is doing.

ANDREW MARR: Well we can hear your very fine Cathedral applauding what you're saying behind you there, Archbishop. What would you like to see Lord Malloch Brown and other British ministers both saying at this conference, and then doing afterwards? For a start presumably closing the Embassy as you've said?

JOHN SENTAMU: Yes, I mean what will happen is what happened during the time of Idi Amin. You know the Embassies were turned into an intrasection, in other words the British High Commission will have its own office either in the South African embassy and all the Mugabe embassies throughout the world.

If you're saying it is an illegitimate government, it is an oppressive government, we don't recognise you, then why do you still give them diplomatic rights. And I think he does need to go and needs to go pretty quickly and then the United Nations needs to pass a resolution actually calling for tougher sanctions, and I've never been one of those who has ruled out the possibility of military intervention because the man is destroying his own country and his people.

ANDREW MARR: And let's talk for a moment about South Africa, because everyone agrees, we've said ourselves, that South Africa holds the key, or part of the key, to this, because of the broader issues. South Africa herself may be soon destabilised by what's going on. Why do you think that President Mbeki had been so slow to denounce Robert Mugabe?

JOHN SENTAMU: Well I would like to plead with President Thabo Mbeki. It is not too late for you to liberate yourself from this suggestion, that because Mugabe was a war veteran therefore we can only just simply persuade him. You know, in Uganda we were liberated by Tanzania saying enough is enough, and actually its army drove Idi Amin out of South Africa please, for heaven's sake, stop all this suggesting that this is going to be imperialism, this is going to be militarism.

Remember, a lot of people in the west put pressure on the then apartheid government, and that apartheid government had to bend to the will of the international community. So South Africa, for heaven's sake, just wake up to what is happening in Zimbabwe in your own country. You've got four million refugees which you can ill afford, and I'd have thought you know this wonderful, wonderful prosperous country is being turned into a wasteland.


JOHN SENTAMU: Where vultures are now governing and killing people.

ANDREW MARR: And yet in that wasteland there are still many British people, including British politicians, who have investments. Should they be pulling that money out, should they be cancelling those investments?

JOHN SENTAMU: They should do it. I mean we should not really be having any more people trading with that particular country. Why did they do it to then Ian Smith and they don't do it for Mugabe who has been very brutalising his people? Why aren't they, they did in South Africa, they've done in other regimes, why not this time? So all British companies that are trading in there, and there are mining rights of people trying to get hold of because of this chaos.

Please, for heaven's sake, stop trading, stop flying, and make sure that Mugabe is totally isolated. And I'll not be one of those who says oh well they can be a government of national unity. You can not, when you've been having the hyena destroying your herd to say well, we'll have a conversation with it. I mean this situation is so difficult, so British companies should stop trading and I would have thought that much tougher sanctions are needed today, not next week.

ANDREW MARR: And finally, Robert Mugabe himself says that he will only be removed by God. As a church man what is your view of that?

JOHN SENTAMU: Well I mean Mugabe's, if Mugabe says God only can take him out, and he says he's believing in a God, well why is he traumatising his people? His view of God is a very small view of God because God loves sinners and saints alike.

All I'd say to Mugabe, God probably is speaking to you quite loud and clear and the time has come for you to step down, and all your henchmen that are brutalising people, including the head of the police, the head of the army, and all those people around you.

You have stolen the election which was won by the opposition in March, please recognise the truth and step down. And of course if he says that God is only one who can take him out he is saying I won't leave until I die. Well, I mean that's a mood of desperation and really is not acceptable and I find myself totally revolted by him.

So all I would say, people of the world continue to pray for Zimbabwe. People in the United Kingdom why don't each one of you give 1 so that when Zimbabwe is restored we can quickly provide food and amenities to everybody else. And today, let it be a day where we resolve that dictators can not always have the upper hand and brutalise their people.

ANDREW MARR: Archbishop we look forward very much to having you back in the studio one day wearing your dog collar. But for now thank you very much indeed.


Please note "The Andrew Marr Show" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

NB: This transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy

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