(CNN) -- The Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, resigned on Tuesday, accusing the Zimbabwean government of waging a smear campaign that saw him sued for adultery two months ago.
Ncube accued the Zimbabwean government of orchestrating a smear campaign against him.
Ncube, a prominent critic of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, said he was quitting to spare the Catholic Church from further attacks -- but vowed to defend himself against adultery charges in court.
"I wrote to the Pope within days of what was obviously a State driven, vicious attack not just on myself, but by proxy on the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe," the 60-year-old cleric said in a statement.
"It is my feeling that I should face this case in court as Pius Ncube, an individual, not that the Holy Catholic Church of God should seem to be on trial because I am its head."
In July, Zimbabwean state-owned newspapers ran pictures of Ncube allegedly in bed with a married woman.
"I have not been silenced by the crude machinations of a wicked regime," he said. "I will use my experiences working among the people to lobby for greater humanitarian support, in particular for food and medical supplies at this time of extreme national crisis."
Zimbabwe is in the midst of a worsening economic situation that has seen the southern African country stricken by spiralling inflation spiral, mass unemployment and food and power shortages.
Earlier this year, Ncube said he was ready to face bullets in the street following a government crackdown against anti-Mugabe protesters that saw opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beaten and hospitalized. E-mail to a friend
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