AFTER a gruelling 16 months of persecution, 109 court appearances and a shameful waste of taxpayers’ money, controversial Attorney-General Johannes Tomana this week dismally failed to have Roy Bennett put to his defence by the High Court on treason charges.
It was simply an encyclopaedic display of gross incompetence which must warrant his instant resignation as the state’s chief legal officer.
It was a case that Tomana took up himself against sound advice from Bennett’s lawyers that the Attorney-General could not demean himself and his office by appearing personally to prosecute.
But it appears Tomana did not want to miss his chance to showcase his incompetence to the world. And he gladly took up this doomed mission that would lead to his ultimate disgrace.
Rather than Bennett, it must be Tomana himself who must now come under the spotlight. Even a freshman in law school would have seen from the outset that the state was never going to succeed; especially after their so-called key witness, Peter Michael Hitschmann, ended up vouching for the defence.
The Attorney-General called up several witnesses, who the judge later described as being of “amazing ignorance”.
As Justice Chinembiri Bhunu said in his judgment, the state cannot take a dive in the centre circle and expect the referee to award a penalty. And in this case, Tomana took a shameful dive in his own half and expected the referee not only to award him a penalty, but also to give Bennett a red card! But justice had other ideas.
The Attorney-General must simply hide his head in shame. He has dismally failed in his national duty by pursuing a political
fight which has since cost him his
We in the MDC have always said that Tomana has compromised his professionalism by sacrificing his reputation on the altar of political expediency. An Attorney-General who makes a public confession that he supports a political party is never fit for office and his dismal performance in this case vindicates those of us who have always seen this case as “persecution by prosecution”.
Now Tomana has been hoist by his own petard.
We believe Bennett must immediately take up his national duty to which the party deployed him. Zanu PF cannot have a hand in MDC deployments to government.
Forget the shrill, shameful propaganda from relevance-seekers such as Jonathan Moyo. Bennett is a patriotic Zimbabwean who has distinguished himself in serving his country. It is not criminal for him to have served in the British South Africa Police at one point in his life. Even Zanu PF stalwarts such as Phillip Chiyangwa did, just as Olivia Muchena, now a cabinet minister, was a member of the late Bishop Abel Muzorewa’s UANC.
Bennett was born on 16 February 1957 in Rusape. His father was a farmer and in 1958 the family moved from Rusape to Karoi. His childhood was one of bare feet and consisted of roaming the farm with his friends, hunting with a catapult and fishing in the rivers and dams.
He did his primary education in Karoi from 1962 to1969 and his secondary studies at Ellis Robins High School in Harare from 1970 to 1973.
In 1993 he purchased Chimanimani Estate in the Chimanimani area from the Lonrho Wattle Company where he started growing coffee and continued cattle ranching. Bennett was nominated as the Tobacco Grower of the Year for Karoi North area in 1988, and was awarded the National Coffee Grower of the Year award in 1996. He was chairman of the Chimanimani Farmers Association and was the Manicaland representative on the Agricultural Labour Board. He sat on the Board of the Zimbabwe Coffee Mill as chairman and later became a trustee of the Chimanimani Country Club. He also formed and chaired the Chimanimani Development Association and was the
chairman of Mvurachena Primary School in Chipinge.
Senator Bennett, a fluent and eloquent Shona speaker, played polo and captained the Mashonaland side for several years and played in the national team for four years.
He remains a patriotic Zimbabwean whose only crime is that he is white and he is MDC.
Luke Tamborinyoka is the Director of Information and Publicity in the MDC formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.