Peace Won't Come to Zimbabwe
9:54 AM, Feb 20, 2009 • By JOHN NOONAN
Starry-eyed optimism in light of Zimbabwe's new unity government aside, peace in the former Rhodesia remains as elusive as ever. The primary opposition to Robert Mugabe's murderous ZANU-PF, the Movement for Democratic Change, insisted on several key conditions prior to signing on to the much touted power-sharing agreement -- the release of political prisoners topping the list. One of those prisoners, former farmer and MP Roy Bennett, is facing life in prison on over-hyped terrorism and illegal firearms charges. Bennett is the MDC's treasurer and the party's selection for Deputy Minister of Agriculture, a most important post in the former breadbasket nation's political hierarchy.
He also knows the cruelty of the Mugabe regime first hand. Peter Godwin, a Rhodesian soldier turned journalist, chronicled Bennett's entry into politics and subsequent farm seizure by Mugabe's 'war vets' in his superb When a Crocodile Eats the Sun. An excerpt (circa 2002):
Ultimately Bennett was forced to flee his homeland, seeking refuge in South Africa. He returned after the power-sharing agreement was signed, but was arrested when he attempted to fly back to the RSA.
Until Roy Bennett and other political prisoners are freed, until Mugabe releases his white-knuckled clutch on power, and until the MDC gains viable power through control of the police forces or army -- Zimbabwe is doomed to continue its plummet into anarchy.