Zimbabwe: Roy Bennet Arrested - Ministers Sworn In Anyway

As Morgan Tsvangirai posed for this photo with Robert Mugabe and South African President Motlanthe after the swearing-in of the new inclusive cabinet ministers, his Deputy Minister of Agriculture nominee, Roy Bennet, was under arrest and being driven by members of Military Intelligence to Mutare

The latest "news" from Zimbabwe is that Roy Bennet has been arrested and was last seen at a fuel station on the outskirts of Marondera, on the road that leads to his home Province, Manicaland. The swearing in of all the other cabinet ministers continued and was finished a little while back after it was temporarily delayed as Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Mugabe met behind closed doors at State House to discuss the arrest of Bennet.

Tsvangirai accepted whatever explanation was given to him by Mugabe and has since witnessed all his nominees (minus Bennet) sworn in by Mugabe.

Of course, members of this blog know this story only too well, having read my posts here since a couple of months back, including the Mugabe Prepares To Arrest Tsvangirai article which you will find on this page. Others, picking the story from my blog, ran with it and claimed that Mugabe was threatening to arrest Morgan Tsvangirai in order to force him to go into the GNU!!! Yes, you can go ahead and laugh!!

The reverse was obviously true. Mugabe wanted Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC to refuse to take part in the government. He wanted them to walk away so that he could turn around to SADC and tell them he had observed all their dictates (as he legally had, without sticking to the agreement's spirit) while Tsvangirai was planning banditry and being insincere with his "dithering" and "buying of time" (two words/phrases Mugabe actually used in meetings with SADC leaders).

This is one of the great fallacies of Zimbabwe's democracy project. Several politically ignorant writers have claimed that Mugabe was "begging" Tsvangirai to join him. He was not. Of course, it is very true that the Abominable Dictator was in a tight spot but this was because SADC and the AU had demanded at the African Union Summit in Egypt in July last year that there be a power-sharing deal.

Mugabe had to go along with this otherwise he would have been ostracised by the very African leaders he relies on to shield him from stronger and more direct Western action. He really does not want this deal, apparently, and has been hoping that Morgan Tsvangirai walks away, allowing SADC and the AU to give him the go ahead to form a purely ZANU PF government. 

Tsvangirai, in one of his shrewdest moves since taking over at the helm of the MDC, resisted this and has finally forced Mugabe to face him and give him the Prime Ministerial post.

The arrest of Roy Bennet, who is the nominated Deputy Minister of Agriculture from Tsvangirai's MDC, is simply a continuation of the banditry case that Mugabe has built against the Morgan Tsvangirai MDC. More arrests are soon to follow.

As you are well aware, Tsvangirai has now admitted that he has no power to order the release of any of the people arrested on these charges. He told a rally just after he was sworn in that he will "not interfere with the judicial process."

The rumours doing the rounds in Harare right now that Mugabe has ordered the release of Bennet are false. Mugabe is very good at this "game". As a top security official told me about an hour after Bennet was arrested at Charles Prince Airport, where he was about to board a private jet to flee to South Africa, nothing of this kind is done in Zimbabwe without the approval of the president.

Mugabe knew very well what was about to happen. Had Bennet not tried to flee Zimbabwe an hour before he was due to be sworn in as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, he would almost certainly have been sworn in by Mugabe, to be arrested along with other top MDC officials who have been implicated through the torture of the activists already in prison at a later date.

Oh yes, there have been implications already, as I told members of this blog a long time back in the post entitled "Jestina Mukoko Implicates Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC".

Gandi Mudzingwa, Tsvangirai's former "aide" who was briefly "fired" by Tsvangirai and then quietly rehired as the Director of Intelliegence for the MDC, has, under intense, "eye-watering torture" (as described by one security official to me) in prison, implicated Roy Bennet, Ian Kay, Topper Whitehead and Ian Makone, husband of one of the new ministers in Tsvangirai's government in the "plot" to overthrow Mugabe by force of arms.

He has, apparently, also told his tormentors of the training he claims to have recieved in Serbia in December 2004, which he says was to prepare him to lead an armed force to topple Mugabe.

The reason Bennet is being driven to Mutare as I write this now is because the government of Mugabe is claiming privately that there are arms caches hidden by Bennet and which he must show them before he is whisked off to prison.

There is no time frame set for the arrest of the other MDC officials who have been "implicated" by the activists at Chikurubi Prison, but you can rest assured that these will come within a couple of weeks. I understand that Topper Whitehead, one of Tsvangirai's closest advisers, is not in the country and it is unlikely that he will return any time soon.

The other implicated people (there are more of them than the three mentioned here) are laregly in the country, awaiting their inevitable fate, I suppose. The only one I am not sure of is Ian Makone.

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  1. Roy Bennet arrested, the long arm of the law has caught up with him. He was a fugitive from justice.I strongly believe in upholding the rule of law and giving due regard to the independence of the judiciary.Let the courts decide his fate without any interference from politicians and lobbyists who only wants to see the rule of law applied selectively. Phillip Chiyangwa was there so is Chris Kuruneri, Jestina Mukoko and now Roy Bennet, there should be no sacred cows. Even the controversial Jacob Zuma is in it, and it is the courts that are going to give a verdict. Personal feelings towards the arrested should not be the deciding factor. I feel it is wrong to pressure Prime Minister Tsvangirai to interfere with cases before the courts. He has been preaching about Democracy, rule of law, etc, Proper democrats respects the independence of the judiciary, it is one pillar in a democracy which if compromised,and stripped of its independence, any claim for democratic principles should be abandoned.


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