Bennett Exonerated, Prosecutor Loses Face

bennet_rThe acquittal of Roy ''Pachedu' Bennett (Pictured) on all charges is a great relief and represents a huge victory for the judiciary in Zimbabwe, and High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu should be congratulated. It is also a victory for the MDC, who have stood by their embattled treasurer throughout the whole c

But this just raises more questions:

The Attorney-General Johannes Tomana: he insisted on prosecuting the case personally, anticipating a kangaroo court. Will he be fired for obvious partiality and his highly publicised, gross incompetence?

The GPA: Will the MDC’s long un-appointed provincial governors be sworn in now, too?

Bennett himself: Will he counter-sue?

The rule of Law: Will it continue to be applied selectively in Zimbabwe – or is this acquittal just a bit of pre-World Cup window dressing for the benefit of the South African government?

Applying the rule of law selectively has been standard ZanuPF procedure for decades. A perfect example is the glaring contrast between the treatment of Roy Bennett, a key MDC officer and favourite of the people, and that of Joseph Mwale, a vicious CIO operative attached to the President’s office.

Mwale has somehow eluded justice despite murder charges and a High Court order to have him arrested. Mwale is charged with the gruesome murder in broad daylight of two MDC activists, Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika at Murambinda Growth Point, Buhera, in 2000. The police ignore the High Court order to arrest him, seemingly aware of Mwale’s unwritten Presidential immunity and status as a political ‘untouchable.’

ZanuPF clearly fears Roy Bennett, because he represents the reality of the Zimbabwean dream of racial harmony and a progressive democracy. Bennett no longer faces death row for treason, but he still needs to be on his guard.

He made a bitter enemy of ZanuPF’s Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, over a long-ago scuffle in Parliament. And the monumental egos of the billionaire cartel at the top of ZanuPF will not enjoy seeing Bennett a free man.

But the people of Zimbabwe are partying tonight, having seen justice prevail and another crack appear in the facade of Mugabe’s ‘final battle for total control’.

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