Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops attack Mugabe's rule
Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops accused President Robert Mugabe of leading a corrupt and poorly managed government and have also called for political reforms to a revolt, according to a Reuters article (http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKL0916625820070409?pageNumber=1).
A pastoral letter posted Easter weekend in church notice boards by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference said extreme economic hardship and political repression have resulted from Mugabe's rule.
Zimbabwe has 1700 percent inflation, unemployment of 80 percent, and increasing shortages of food and fuel. The bishops were also protesting against the March 11th crackdown on anti-Mugabe activists, where protesters are reported to have been beaten and hospitalized.
The bishops warned that reforms were needed to stop a possible violent uprising. Mugabe, 83, will run for president next year. Critics say he has rigged elections before. He's Zimbabwe's only leader since independence from Britain in 1980.
According to an AP report, similar pressure brought against Malawi's former prime minister led to a 1992 referendum that overthrew him (http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa/articles/2007/04/09/bishops_warn_of_uprising_if_mugabe_remains/). The government has failed to respond to the letter. Mugabe is current out of the country.
The Catholic Church makes up a majority of the Christian population in Zimbabwe and Mugabe himself is a practicing Catholic.
Both these articles were very strong but were missing a few key points. I felt the Reuters article provided better background to the situation. They provided clearer historical context and were more specific about the policies that the Catholics didn't approve of. I also like how the March 11 incident was pushed up in the story. It helped provide necessary context which the rest of the story could develop from. The AP story added this at the end like dressing and it could be easily forgotten. However, the AP article gave the economic data of Zimbabwe much earlier, which is also essential to get to the reader early on so they get a stronger sense of the current political setting. I think both stories used strong leads (they were very similar). They should've focused just on developing context, which they did slightly. Then they should've discussed the grievances of the Bishops. Each article was missing some viewpoints as well. I wanted to know what Western leaders or scholars think about this development. What impact will this have internationally? Also, where is the government's POV? Finally, how have the policies caused the current economic conditions. Both of the articles were too vague in this aspect.