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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Tackle Zimbabwe, archbishop urges
Protests in London
The UK has been pressed to act

The Archbishop of York has launched a fierce attack on Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe and called for Britain to lead sanctions against his government.

Writing in the Observer, Dr John Sentamu likened Mr Mugabe to the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

"Mugabe is the worst kind of racist dictator," he wrote.

He told the BBC that Gordon Brown should lead a coalition of countries in mounting stricter international sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The archbishop highlighted a recent report from Zimbabwe for BBC Two's Newsnight which exposed drastic food shortages, infant mortality, average life expectancies in the mid-30s and poor living conditions in townships.

Orwellian vision

"The appalling poverty suffered by those who queue daily for bread in southern Harare is a world apart from the shops, boutiques and sprinkled lawns of northern Harare, where Mugabe's supporters live in palatial surroundings," he said in the newspaper.

"Having targeted the whites for their apparent riches, Mugabe has enacted an awful Orwellian vision, with the once oppressed taking on the role of the oppressor and glorying in their totalitarian abilities."

At worst, Mbeki is complicit in his failing to lead the charge against a neighbour who is systematically raping the country he leads
Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

The archbishop also called for an end to current foreign policy introduced by Tony Blair, with its emphasis on the role of neighbouring governments such as South Africa.

"The time for 'African solutions' alone is now over," he said.

"Despite his best efforts, president Mbeki [of South Africa] has failed to help the people of Zimbabwe.

"At best he has been ineffective in his efforts to advise, cajole and persuade Robert Mugabe that it is time for him to reverse his unjust and brutal regime.

Bishop Sentamu
The Archbishop said the time for 'African solutions' alone was over
"At worst, Mbeki is complicit in his failing to lead the charge against a neighbour who is systematically raping the country he leads."

In an interview on BBC One's Sunday AM, he called on Mr Brown to lead a complete economic boycott.

"I think we need a very robust solution, things like boycotting sporting activity with Zimbabwe and reducing the number of embassy staff all over the world.

"These embassies become conduits to take money out of the country."

The argument that sanctions would hurt the poor is wrong, he said, because their plight could not worsen.

Country profile: Zimbabwe
16 Aug 07 |  Country profiles

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