Persecution, not prosecution

roy_bennett_zimDear Family and Friends,
There can be few people who have been so relentlessly hounded for the last 10 years as Roy Bennett. (Pictured)

Everyone knows him as ‘Pachedu’ which means: “One of us” but frankly he puts most of us to shame with his unwavering bravery, courage and determination.

When High Court Judge Bhunu acquitted Roy Bennett on charges of illegal possession of weapons of war and plotting treason, you could almost hear the national sigh of relief. It was a judgement that seemed inevitable after the absurdity of some of the so called evidence that had been presented.

Justice Bhunu said some of the state witnesses displayed “amazing ignorance” and failed to prove the case. Even so, Judge Bhunu’s judgement came as a surprise, and we really began to think that at last the Attorney General was going to have to leave Roy Bennett alone and allow him to take up his post of Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Speaking to journalists, the Attorney General was quoted as saying: “It’s a High Court decision and it is our understanding of justice it has been done and it must be binding.” I don’t think so.

The day after he had been acquitted, Roy Bennett travelled to Mutare to reclaim his bail money, the Title Deeds to his house and his passport which he’d been ordered to surrendered to the Mutare Magistrate’s court. He got the Title Deeds back but nothing else.

The passport had apparently been removed by an official from the Attorney General’s office on March 29 – a couple of days before the original ruling on Roy’s case was due to have been made.

His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa said: “The removal of his passport is illegal as only the court or an acquittal can lead to the release of a passport from the clerk of court. These guys (law officers) are a law unto themselves.”

The next day Attorney General Johannes Tomana filed a Supreme Court appeal against the acquittal of Roy Bennett.

And so now, for Roy Bennett, it starts all over again and there are no words that we can offer him or his family that adequately express the feeling of national empathy. As the MDC said, this is not prosecution of Roy Bennett, it is persecution. But this isn’t just about the State and Roy Bennett because the Attorney General’s appeal puts Zimbabwe back into the state of stagnant suspension it’s been in ever since the Unity Government’s installation. No non-Zanu (PF) eyes have yet to see what is going on in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Zimbabwe and the world will still not find out who is on all those seized commercial farms, what they are doing there or why we continue to be forced to import almost all of our food requirements.

Yet again an opportunity for honesty, truth and change in Zimbabwe has gone and we all know why. Until next time, thanks for reading, Ndini shamwari yenyu.

Post published in: Opinions

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