The Bishop of Croydon, Rt Rev Nicholas Baines, has criticised the British media for "peddling lies" about the situation in Zimbabwe, insisting that London has no right to dictate how Harare should run its affairs.
Speaking at a welcome reception organised for 20 visiting members of the Anglican Church who were in Zimbabwe in April to strengthen ties with their Zimbabwean colleagues and "assess the situation" for themselves, Bishop Baines, the leader of the group, said what they had seen was the opposite of what they had been made to believe back in Britain. He said people in Britain worry about their safety when contemplating visiting Zimbabwe because of the sensational media coverage. The delegation, which arrived in Zimbabwe on 11 April, had visited tourist resorts such as Victoria Falls.
"We wanted to see things for ourselves instead of listening to what people say," Bishop Baines said. "We are actually overwhelmed by the welcome we got, it shows that Zimbabwe is a hospitable country. There was a lot of anxiety when we left UK. Our children, friends and relatives wanted to find out why we wanted to come to Zimbabwe."
Bishop Baines said colonialism was gone forever and Britain had no right to dictate what Zimbabwe should do. "It's not possible for people like us to question the price you paid for the liberation of your country," he said to the delight of the assembled Zimbabweans. "We see a lot of propaganda on our television stations but we cannot see the evidence. We are trying to understand as we go around. We want to see what we can learn from you and vice-versa."
Bishop Baines continued: "We have one interest as British Christians--to see Zimbabwe thrive, its economy growing. We want to see the people of this country happy. We want to see the church help build your...