The latest news on Roy Bennett:
Why is it that no one can see the game that Mugabe is playing against the democracy project in Zimbabwe?
Roy Bennett appeared in court today in Mutare, wearing his white t-shirt and classic farmers' long shorts. He appeared resigned to whatever was about to happen.
What did happen was that the following charges were laid against him:
- Attempting to commit terrorism, banditry and sabotage
- Conspiring to acquire arms in order to disrupt essential services
- Illegal possession of arms and weapons
- attempting to leave the country illegally
The defence immediately asked for the charges to be thrown out and a decision will be made tomorrow (Wednesday 18 February 2009).
Crucially, the charge of attempting to leave the country illegally is being brought up simply so that they make Bennett ineligible for bail. The prosecution will argue that he is a man of some means who can leave the country immediately he is released. You will find the story from AFP here
The world, meantime, is falling for this little charade from the Zimbabwe dictator. Now, it is being reported all over the world that Mugabe is being "sidelined" by his generals, who are against the agreement.
Mugabe knows that the MDC leadership lacks the confidence to deal with the military big guns. They do not feel that they can get the deal Mugabe is offering them now if it were the military in charge of things. Hook line and sinker, they have bought the street gossip that it is the military that is running Zimbabwe and preventing the democracy project from succeeding.
In actual fact, the armed forces are being used by Mugabe for his own power game. Their interests were tied to Mugabe's a long time ago, when the current Prime Minister publicly stated that if he took over he would have them arrested and charged with crimes against humanity.
Now, Mugabe's interest is their interest. But they do not hold sway here. It is Mugabe in supreme control and command.
So, the sanitisation of Mugabe's assault on democracy in Zimbabwe is now necessary "in order to strengthen his hand" against the Chiwengwas and the like. Yet these same generals are actually busy laughing their heads off right now, telling their friends this is as far as Tsvangirai will ever go in his quest for the presidency. This past weekend, one likened the Prime Minister to a rabbit in the glare of headlights.
Yes, they still regard him with contempt, but they have bought into Mugabe's strategy (it is getting boring to have to keep refering you back to articles I wrote here beginning November last year predicting exactly what we see happening now and laying out Mugabe's strategy).
The man in the street likes simple and straighforward things, complicated power struggles and the nuances of diplomatic and political strategy give him headaches. Hence, although the strategy is unfolding exactly as leaked last year, most people find comfort in looking the other way, in looking for an explanation that does not scare them so much.
But Mugabe certainly now has Tsvangirai and Biti where he wants them. They say they are seeking to establish a common front with Mugabe against these "evil generals" who are "bent on destroying the inclusive government." Mugabe will ensure that Bennett's imprisonment sends the coarsest message to an already petrified MDC leadership: either you accept me and work with me or you will have to deal with the generals who will take over power and simply install a civilian as a figurehead.
Mugabe, of course, is nobody's figurehead, despite what the western press now want us to believe. He is in charge. He is directing events. All the time, he is double-daring the MDC, which right now has neither the confidence nor the wits to counter this approach.
The problems is partly of their ow creation. Even back in 2004, when some of us were loudly telling the world that the problem with Zimbabwe was an institutional one, most Zimbabweans and foreigners were dismissive, with Zimbabweans themselves saying, "The moment Mugabe goes, things will automatically come right."
The strategies employed were employedon this basis of this flawed reading of Zimbabwe's situation. Now it is too late to undo them.
One more thing: from today onwards watch carefully, very carefully, the relationship between Mugabe's ZANU PF and Angola, which is itself controlled in reality by generals.
Electricity went some time ago here, so this is a race against my laptop battery. Excuse any typos and the like in this story, it had to be typed in hurriedly.
Previous Articles (Please Click On One To Read The Full Post):
- Roy Bennett - Who Is In Charge Of Home Affairs?
- Jestina Bennett - What Is Really Going On?
- Leave Mugabe Alone, says Tsvangirai
- Roy Bennet Arrested, Ministers Sworn In Anyway
- Defence Force Chiefs Boycott Tsvangirai Inauguration
- Tsvangirai Sworn In By Mugabe
- Tsvangirai Announces Cabinet
- Anti-Simba Makoni Alliance Crumbles
- Jestina Mukoko Near Death
- Obamas Secret Message To Mugabe
- The Facts Behind The "Firing" Of Simba Makoni
- Starving Zimbabwean Villagers Destroy 40-Acre Maize Field in a Land Feud
- Zimbabwe Monetary Policy Highlights
- Gono Refuses To Pay US$22 000 Debt
- Mugabe Explains Why He Won't Go
- MDC Dreaming, Say Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Officials
- MDC Formally Agrees To Join Mugabe In Government
- Right Again! Budget Announces Full Official Dollarisation
- Tsvangirai Seeks A Face-saving Way To Join Government
- Mugabe: "I promise you I will never lose an election again."
- Mugabe Settles on Successor
- Why I Blog About Africa And Zimbabwe
- As Zimbabwe Talks Collapse, Dollarisation Now Official
- Grace Mugabe Punched Me Repeatedly - British Journalist
- How SADC and Mugabe Have Boxed-In Morgan Tsvangirai
- Mugabe Prepares To Arrest Tsvangirai
- 2 year old Freed From Zimbabwe Maximum Security Prison
- Jestina Mukoko - Real Reasons For Arrest Revealed
- Zimbabwe Approaches South Africa To Officially Use The Rand
- Zimbabwe Army Commander Demands Top Government Job