Bennett floors Chinamasa and Mutasa

Many observers were abhorred at Movement for Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett’s behaviour when he floored two Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Ministers in Parliament but an equal number were proud of him, according to a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks.

Bennett the Member of Parliament for Chimanimani assaulted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and also punched and floored Anti-Corruption Minister Didymus Mutasa on 18 May 2004 after Chinamasa had told the House that the government was not going to reverse its decision on taking over Bennett’s farm in Chimanimani because his forefathers were “thieves and murderers”.

ZANU-PF supporters staged a demonstration in support of Chinamasa two days later calling for Bennett’s head.

Commenting on the demonstrations, United States embassy officials said Bennett was one of the most wanted men because “as the country's only white MP representing a rural area (he) was embarrassing proof that the GOZ did not control all of rural Zimbabwe”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 04HARARE858, ZANU-PF STAGES DEMONSTRATION AGAINST MDC MP ROY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE858

2004-05-21 08:53

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 000858

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER, D. TEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

DS/OP/AF

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ASEC ZI ZANU PF MDC

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF STAGES DEMONSTRATION AGAINST MDC MP ROY

BENNETT

 

REF: A. HARARE 682

B. HARARE 634

 

1. (U) SUMMARY: On May 20, ZANU-PF staged a demonstration in

downtown Harare against MDC MP Roy Bennett. The

demonstration came two days after Bennett assaulted Minister

of Justice Patrick Chinamasa in Parliament when the latter

commented on the government seizure of Bennett's farm. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) According to eyewitnesses, trucks ferried 200 - 300

ZANU-PF supporters to the Parliament building where

demonstrators chanted slogans and waved placards saying: "We

want the head of Bennett now", "MDC Murderers", Where is the

rule of the law Bennett?" and "Flush Bennett into the Blair

toilet". The presidentially appointed governor for Harare,

Witness Mangwende addressed the crowd saying Bennett was no

longer welcome in Harare province. ZANU-PF Harare Chairman

Amos Midzi also thanked the demonstrators. The crowd cheered

as Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa entered Parliament.

Police reportedly looked on.

 

3. (U) The crowd then walked a few blocks to MDC headquarters

where eyewitnesses reported that demonstrators attempted to

break-in through the front door. The security gates were

pulled down, and a minor stone-throwing battle ensued between

MDC youths and demonstrators. Police entered MDC

headquarters and arrested six MDC youths, carting them away

in a police vehicle. A ZANU-PF official addressed the crowd,

which dispersed having been in front of MDC offices for about

an hour. Police closed Nelson Mandela Avenue (where the MDC

is located) during the demonstration.

 

4. (U) The demonstration came two days after Bennett

assaulted Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa in

Parliament. Addressing the full assembly, Chinamasa

reportedly said the government would not reverse its decision

to acquire Bennett's farm in Chimanimani (Ref B) and that

Bennett had forgotten that his forefathers were "thieves and

murderers". Reacting to the statements, Bennett charged at

Chinamasa and pushed him to the floor. Bennett also punched

and floored Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies Minister

Didymus Mutasa (69).

 

5. (SBU) On April 9, soldiers, police and war vets seized

Bennett's Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani despite five (now

six) High Court judgments affirming Bennett's right to the

property, and calling for various government officials and

other groups to stay away (Refs A, B). Despite problems on

the farm, Bennett has been able to source funds for various

MDC activities, and there were numerous rumors that he could

organize an armed resistance to the government.

 

Comment:

--------

 

6. (SBU) As the country's only white MP representing a rural

area, Bennett was embarrassing proof that the GOZ did not

control all of rural Zimbabwe. In addition, unsubstantiated

rumors of Bennett-organized guerrillas, and his funding for

opposition activities made him top the government's most

wanted list. Many observers were abhorred at his behavior in

Parliament, but at least an equal number were proud of him.

SULLIVAN

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