- Southern Africa
Return of exiled Roy Bennett to Zimbabwe a danger?
There has to be a starting point ...
MDC’s National Treasurer Roy Bennett who fled Zimbabwe after he was accused of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe has returned to the country to see the formation of an all-inclusive government.
In 2004 Bennet spent eight months in jail for pushing ZANU PF’s Patrick Chinamasa in parliament. He flew into Zimbabwe from South Africa for the crucial meeting of the MDC National Council, which made the decision to finally form a unity government with ZANU PF and the second MDC formation.
Speaking on the eve of his departure Bennett told South African media that he was “very apprehensive”. “To tell you the truth I am scared because I don’t know what faces me on the other side," he said.
Bennett who felt he wanted to be part of this important occasion and also test the sincerity and genuineness of the Mugabe regime, passed through airport security without any hassles. He went straight to the meeting where the National Council committed itself to the unity government.
It is believed this decision came after serious pressure from SADC, which had said it would guarantee and deliver the process, with the government formed by mid February.
Confronted with the potential danger of his return to Zimbabwe as well as the Mugabe government sticking to its part of the power-sharing deal, Bennett, who was a commercial farmer before he was violently driven off his land in Chimanimani, said: "I find it as difficult as the next person to even begin to trust these processes, but there has to be a starting point of moving this forward on the basis that people are suffering and on the basis that SADC has guaranteed this process."
He added that within SADC the MDC has friends, who believe a power sharing government can be delivered.
But whether or not Roy Bennett’s is risking his life for the good of the people of Zimbabwe — a population suffering from an acute shortage of food with one out of every four Zimbabweans needing food aid as well as major health risks, — the ball is in Mugabe’s court and for the time being he calls the shots.