MDC MP for Chimanimani Roy Bennett is suing President Robert Mugabe in his personal capacity for inciting Zanu PF supporters to cause mayhem on his farms, he has told the Zimbabwe Independent.<
Bennett this week said he was consulting his lawyers on how to proceed with the lawsuit against Mugabe.
This follows Mugabe’s utterances at a rally in Nyakomba in Nyanga on June 12 where he reportedly said there was no place for white farmers whom he accused of destabilising the country. He singled out Bennett and another farmer, Pieter de Klerk.
“These Bennetts and the De Klerks are not deserving cases in regards to allocation of land, because they are destabilising our society,” said Mugabe. “They are for illegality; they are supporting a party in its programme of pursuing an illegal course to power,” he told the rally.
“All those who are working in this illegal way, in this manner of destablising our society, do not deserve a portion of our land at all. If they have it, if they have that land, that land will be taken from them and be given to more loyal citizens,” he said.
“So I don’t want to hear that there is a Bennett, that there is a de Klerk who continues to destablise our well being, they must go from here,” he was reported as saying.
Soon after Mugabe’s remarks, on June 15, 250 Zanu PF youths and war veterans descended on the farm being leased by Bennett in Ruwa, destroying property valued at around $111, 5 million.
Bennett said he lost property amounting to $60 million while $51,5 million belonging to his farm manager and workers was also lost.
“I will sue Mugabe in his personal capacity,” said Bennett.
“The president of a country is not God and he is not above the law,” he said.
“He is a normal person like you and me and when he personally orders acts of violence and criminality he is accountable and no immunity can protect him,” Bennett said.
However, the suit faces legal hurdles as Rule 18 of the High Court stipulates that no civil suit may be raised against the president without leave of the court.
Bennett said he had a video and a transcript of the Nyanga rally which he would use as evidence.
“The three police officers who came from Epworth to investigate the matter were told (by the invaders at Ruwa) in no uncertain terms that the invaders were responding to the president’s call. The officers left without doing anything,” said Bennett.
Bennett’s Charleswood farm in Chimanimani was also invaded last Saturday.
Bennett said members of the Central Intelligence Organisation, war veterans and police moved onto the farm and arrested six workers before charging them under the Miscellaneous Offences Act.