In an article in The Times, The Archbishops of Canterbury and York Rowan Williams and John Sentamu said that Mugabe had crushed the hopes of many of Zimbabwe’s people.
As late as the 1990s, they wrote: "Zimbabwe was showing what was possible to its neighbours and indeed to the whole continent."
"One of the worst of the countless casualties inflicted by Robert Mugabe on his wretched country is the destruction of many people’s hopes, both in Zimbabwe itself and throughout Africa.
"The continent can’t afford more failed states, mass hunger, contempt for the rule of law… We have been witnessing the slow death of a people."
Referring to disputed elections last March, they continued: "We know that there is no quick solution to this; and we know that there will be no serious solution as long as Robert Mugabe remains in power and refuses to accept the verdict of his people in last year’s election."
Their calls echoed remarks by Roman Catholic bishops in southern Africa last month calling for Mugabe to resign, and for regional leaders to stop all support for him.
Since the March polls, Zimbabwe has been plunged into an economic and humanitarian crisis.
The country, once dubbed the breadbasket of southern Africa, is in the throes of a food crisis affecting more than half of its 12 million population, and a cholera epidemic has claimed more than 3 800 lives.
A unity government that took office two weeks ago aims to end the political turmoil, but faces the enormous challenge of rebuilding a country devastated by hyperinflation. – AFP