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Archbishop Sentamu renews call for Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe to step down

Posted on: August 3, 2016 4:14 PM
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, famously cut his clerical collar into pieces during a 2007 live BBC television interview in protest at President Robert Mugabe's leadership
Photo Credit: The Andrew Marr Show / BBC Television
Related Categories: Abp Sentamu, Central Africa, Public Affairs

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has repeated his call for the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, to step down. Dr Sentamu famously cut up his clerical collar during a live BBC television interview with Andrew Marr in December 2007. He has vowed to not wear a collar again while President Mugabe remains in power.

His latest call came in an interview with the London-based Premier Christian radio station. He said that President Mugabe was “very eloquent [and] very educated” but, quoting the famous phrase from Lord Acton to Bishop of London Mandell Creighton in 1887, said that: “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely; and I am afraid that he has been corrupted by his absolute power.

“I would say to him, for the sake of Zimbabwe . . . step down. Step down while there is time and allow someone else to take over Zimbabwe and rule it so that there will be no violent coup which would, again, drive more and more people into difficulty.

In comments addressed personally to President Mugabe, Archbishop Sentamu said: “At your age, you have had your innings, please just step down for the sake of Zimbabwe.”

He said that the word Zimbabwe means “a rock”; but added: “the country is no longer a rock. It has become a rubble.”

In his now-infamous 2007 interview with Andrew Marr, Archbishop Sentamu said that the people of Zimbabwe were starving and traumatised. Taking his collar off and cutting it into pieces with a pair of scissors, he said: “As an Anglican, this is what I wear to identify myself, that I am a clergyman. Do you know what Mugabe has done? He has taken people's identity and literally - if you don't mind - cut it to pieces.

“This is what he has actually done to a lot of [people]. And in the end there is nothing. So . . . from now on I am not going to wear a dog collar until Mugabe has gone.”