Saturday, February 14, 2009

Zimbabwe Charges Bennett With Treason

Zimbabwean authorities have charged Roy Bennett with treason.

Yesterday, he was detained at an airport outside Harare upon returning from two years exile in South Africa after new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had appointed him Deputy Minister of Agriculture. The government claims Bennett has an arms cache. Bennett is a white farmer who had his land confiscated by the Mugabe government earlier this decade and subsequently became an MDC activist and an MP representing Chimanimani, a constituency near the border with Mozambique.

I first read about Bennett in Peter Godwin's book When A Crocodile Eats The Sun which I reviewed at IC in September 2007. ('s-when-a-crocodile-eats-the-sun/)

This represents a huge test for Tsvangirai which he is almost certain not to pass. The reason Mugabe had Bennett arrested was to put Tsvangirai in a no win situation. If Tsvangirai sticks up for Bennett then Mugabe will call him an agent of the white man, the colonialists and the West. These statements still resonate in southern Africa. If Tsvangirai does nothing then Mugabe can say he is no different in power than anyone else.

As I wrote yesterday being Prime Minister of Zimbabwe is the worst job in the world.

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