Mugabe Orders Release Of Bennett
Roy Bennett is seen here with Morgan Tsvangirai in South Africa last year. Bennett had fled to South Africa because ZANU PF heavyweights were relentlessly pursuing him after he was released from jail, where he had been sent for assaulting Patrick Chinamasa in parliament. He came back to Zimbabwe around the time of the inauguration of the Inclusive Government, believing that as a member of a party (the MDC) now to be in government, he would be protected. He was alerted to his imminent arrest the day before ministers were sworn in and he tried to flee the country through Charles Prince Airport in a private jet, but was abducted from there and sent to Mutare Prison. His ordeal has been ongoing since then.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 15 October 2009
Information just getting to us says Robert "The Solution" Mugabe has "suggested" that it is best for Roy Bennett to be granted bail when he appears before the High Court for his application on Monday.
Mugabe still wants to maintain the impression that he does not interfere with the court process, as he has assured Tsvangirai, hence the need to take this route.
My sources also tell me that Mugabe and his commanders (Bennett was taken from Charles Prince Airport to Mutare in February in a car belonging to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander) do not want to appear to have given in to Tsvangirai's work boycott by releasing the Deputy Minister of Agriculture immediately.
His trial will continue, it will not be cancelled. He will be allowed to go free with the same bail conditions that he has been under since his "abduction" in February.
Morgan Tsvangirai cancelled the Council Ministers meeting that was due to be held today and stayed away from Munhumutapa Building in Harare, the office complex where the President also works from (or is supposed to work from, Mugabe abandoned the building long ago and now works from State House, which his security people say is more secure).
So, Roy Bennett will most likely stay behind bars until Monday.
There are complications, though.
As was revealed last month, the factional fighting in ZANU PF often results in Mugabe's orders being frustrated, as is the case with Mutumwa Mawere's case, whose companies have been taken over by the Government. Although Mugabe has made it clear that he wants the companies returned to Mawere and has even met the businessman several times in South Africa, some of Mugabe's senior ministers are using the court system to frustrate the implementation of Mugabe's wishes.
It remains to be seen whether the Generals and Patrick Chinamasa do anything to frustrate the release of Bennett on bail.
Some within ZANU PF are saying, should Bennett be granted bail, his detractors in ZANU PF, including Patrick Chinamasa, are plotting to have him arrested again on the steps of the High Court building as he leaves.
But this is talk at the moment and it all depends on how forceful Mugabe is on the issue. No one would dare cross him if it is important enough to him for Bennett to set free on bail.
Like I said yesterday, Bennett will likely apply for bail on Monday but the decision will most probably only be made on Tuesday, which is the last day that the High Court sits in Mutare.
So by Tuesday, if all things go to plan, Bennett will be able to go back home, with stringent bail conditions applied on him.