"WHO IS ROY LESLIE BENNETT?" by Tambanavo Chamanyawi
by Tambanavo Chamanyawi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Roy Leslie Bennett…! Who is Roy Bennett? What makes him tick?
He is currently a frequent visitor to most families across the globe as he gets featured prominently in most news bulletins following his spectacular arrest in Harare last Thursday
Bennett comes across as a black man trapped in a white man's body. He speaks fluent shona and has black African gesticulations.
Born 1957 to Charles Patrick Galway and Catherina Maria Bennett, Roy's childhood is typically of an African Zimbabwe child, roaming the countryside in Karoi with friends hunting and fishing in rivers and dams.
His dramatic conducts in life have always produced international headlines, in most cases for wrong reasons. Yes! This must be said.
He drops sharp shooting scenes faster than the rate at which a warplane drops missiles.
Of late his name has been filling acres and acres of newspapers pages world wide. Roy's face is almost a screen saver in most Television channels.
The Zanu PF Zealots pounced at a time when he was expecting to be sworn in as Zimbabwe's deputy minister of Agriculture. He is reportedly holed at Mutare police station where he is facing terrorism charges. I hope this does not sound like Pachedu's political obituary, because then man is not yet politically or physically dead.
What makes him a darling of the media?
The honest answer is that Roy is generous with action which attracts extreme hostility. To put it frankly the man is slapdash.
He does not even know how to trend on a tight rope. Soon after being briefed about his duties as deputy minister of Agriculture, Pachedu came out of the meeting to tell journalists that Zanu PF's chaotic land grabs would be reviewed by his ministry. This is despite the fact that his ministry has nothing to do with that since there is a separate ministry to deal with land distribution and resettlement.
The former coffee farmer is an extremist of the first grade. With Bennett one is either his pal or an adversary. In his world there is nothing like being moderate. If one is his pal, you will get the best of Roy, but upon failure to dance to his tune, one is guaranteed to get the worst of him. The man knows how to kick ruckus, which in most cases takes toll on him. You can easily become Roy's friend in as much as you can be his enemy very fast. Quick, quick!
The former colonial police officer whose popularity was only limited to Chimanimani until 2000 after snatching the Chimanimani parliamentary seat, is a no new comer to hullabaloo.
After serving as a Zanu PF councilor for years, he attempted to contest Zanu PF parliamentary primary elections in 2000 but was barred by his political superiors by then, 'for having the wrong skin colour.'
He immediately jumped ship and successfully contested the 2000 elections on an MDC ticket, inflicting a heavy embarrassing smack on the face of Zanu PF. This was during the sensitive period when Zanu PF was demonizing whites in the 2000 election campaigns. Bennett's victory drew Zanu PF's wrath and was never forgiven until today.
As Zanu PF was still licking wounds after the Chimanimani bruising defeat, Bennett was on them again. He tossed Zanu PF's marks-man, Patrick Chinamasa to the ground in Parliament leaving a vinegary taste in the mouths of Zanu PF Pharisees. His colleagues had to hold him back as the MDC funnyman klutzily continued charging at Chinamasa like a disturbed Hippopotamus.
He then grabbed the collar of Chinamasa's shirt and wrestled him to the floor. This was Bennett unlimited! He then tried unsuccessfully to punch Zanu PF's Didymus Mutasa who responded by kicking him. Other MPs then took out guns and threatened to start shooting if they did not stop fighting. The Sergeant at Arms escorted Bennett out of the chamber.
This brought him a one year jail term which was controversially slapped on him by Zanu PF's kangaroo parliamentary court. Imagine, the man spent time in jail without facing any magistrate or judge. It's rare, if not vague isn't?
All Zanu PF had to do was to dust off a colonial piece of legislature from the shelves and used it to chastise Roy, much to the amazement of everyone.
He lost his parliamentary seat while serving a prison sentence.
Bennett completed his sentence on June 28 and after his released from Chikurubi Prison where he spent eight months of his twelve-month sentence in custody, he denounced prison conditions generally in a press," The inhumanity with which the prisoners are treated and their total lack of recourse to any representation or justice combined with the filth and stench of daily life is something I will never forget and I will not rest until their conditions are improved."
During a separate press conference after completing his sentence, Bennett, took aim at his party boss, Morgan Tsvangirai but missed. He openly criticized him for allegedly surrounding himself with moderate advisors. He fell short of questioning Tsvangirai's judgments. Imagine that the man could not even realize that Tsvangirai is to Zimbabwe what Nelson Mandela is to South Africa. It is fact that Tsvangirai is trusted and loved so much by Zimbabweans.
In no time he was in trouble with Zanu PF again. They accused him of planning to topple Robert Mugabe's government through a military uprising. He fled to South Africa, only to return back three years later. Instead of being ushered into a spacious ministerial office and mansion, Pachedu was shoved into detention cells at Mutare police station. At a time when Roy expected to be nurtured by security details and aides, he was instead handcuffed and thrown at the back of a Santana.
Roy's life is full of irony. His stay in Johannesburg was not a bed of roses. He clashed with everyone, left, right, centre, backwards and forwards He is not even in talking terms with anybody in MDC's external structures in South Afruca. "Moita politics dzechi-boy" loosely translated as you are practicing primitive politics," the motor mouthed Bennett would tell his colleagues based in SA.
As the Treasurer of the party, he did very little if not nothing to help his desperate comrades who had fled persecution in Zimbabwe. He snubbed MDC loyalists, much to the annoyance of other comrades toiling in South Africa. Tsvangirai's bodyguard-in-chief, Musekiwa Mhukahuru, died a lonely and painful death in a filthy one room in Tembisa town-ship (South Africa) after Roy closed his purse on him.
A celebrated MDC martyr Tandare's widow was also sent back empty handed by Roy when she approached him for financial assistance.
Bennett recently took another aim at his tolerate boss, Tsvangirai for agreeing to go in an inclusive government, but was cut down to size by the party's national council which okayed Morgan's vision.
Now the man who is loved and hated most by his colleagues is behind bars. Most MDC supporters staying in South Africa have threatened to boycott a demonstration being organized in Pretoria to put pressure on SADC to demand his release. Only a handful of his blue-eyed boys who he showered with cash during his stay in South Africa are expected to hit the street.