Zim's State Lawyers To Appeal Against Bennett's Acquittal

President Robert Mugabe has refused to swear in Bennett as deputy agriculture minister since his arrest in February last year, claiming he was facing serious charges.

However, commentators say that the octogenarian Mugabe has a personal dislike for the dispossessed white farmer because of his popularity and political influence among blacks across the country.

Zimbabwe’s state radio quoted a senior official in the attorney- general’s office as saying they would apply for permission to appeal against Monday’s ruling in the high court in which Judge Chinembiri Bhunu said there was no case against Bennett and ordered his acquittal.

Legal experts said that if Judge Bhunu grants the state the right to appeal, it could keep the case stuck in Zimbabwe’s ponderous legal system for months, if not years.

State radio quoted the state legal official as saying that the swearing in could not take place until the law has run its course.

Mugabe’s security officials have maintained a constant campaign of persecution against Bennett, who is the treasurer of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change.

He was violently evicted from his farm in 2003, followed by a sentence of year in jail passed by parliament in 2004 for shoving one of Mugabe’s ministers and his arrest and a month in jail waiting trial on the terrorism charges.

In between, Bennett and his family have been constantly harassed and threatened by state security agents.

Mugabe’s refusal to swear in Bennett is one of the major issues of dispute in the power sharing-government between the MDC and ZNU(PF), that is stalling the full implementation of the coalition agreement.

Mugabe has also blocked a swathe of democratic reforms the new government is obliged to carry out under the agreement. DPA