By Jay Jay Sibanda
ROY Bennett is a highly-respected Zimbabwean leader and in the light of him being denied asylum, the South African government has clearly displayed its support for Zanu PF and insensitivity to the welfare of suffering Zimbabweans.
t was sentenced to one year in prison for pushing Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa following false and insulting accusations.
He served the full sentence and came out a popular hero of the people. This was not what the Mugabe regime had anticipated, hence the ridiculous trumped-up treason charge which would have seen Bennett get a death sentence.
It is a well-known fact that the judicial system has been subjugated and corrupted by the regime so much that magistrates and
judges who try to give impartial verdicts are targeted by Mugabe’s agents.
Bennett was to face the hangman’s noose and it is for this reason that he fled the country.
The fact that South Africa refused Bennett asylum reflects dangerous and ominous signs of ignorance of the realities obtaining on the ground in Zimbabwe.
It makes one think about recent statements by Cosatu about the possibility of another dictatorship like Zimbabwe’s becoming a reality in South Africa.
Bennett, his family and former workers have suffered immeasurable pain at the hands of Mugabe’s thugs. It boggles the mind to realise that their love for Mugabe has blinded them. Or is it that the South African government is simply following Mugabe’s orders?
For Zimbabwe, we have lost a leader and a hero while democracy has also lost out.
In the short-term, President Thabo Mbeki and his counterpart Mugabe have won. The victory is however, short-term because evil never lasts.
The Pretoria administration has openly supported the atrocities perpetrated on the people of Zimbabwe under the smoke-screen of quiet diplomacy.
South Africa could have used its political and economic muscles to rein in Mugabe. However, a donkey cannot laugh at another donkey’s tail when it can feel its tail also growing.
If people like Willkie Modishe and Zwelinzima Vavi were in power, then Swaziland would not be where it is today, and Zimbabwe would still be a land of milk and honey.
To Mbeki we say this callous, blatant action to deny Bennett sanctuary from tyranny is a disgrace to humanity. It flies in the face of his constitution and obligation to preserve and foster human rights on this continent.
* Jay Jay Sibanda is a member of Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad.