Bid to keep Bennett in jail

Harare – A judge in Zimbabwe on Tuesday dismissed an application by the state to deny bail to would-be junior minister Roy Bennett, but prosecutors led by the rogue Zanu PF Attorney General Johannes Tomana said they will apply to the Supreme Court to keep him behind bars.

State prosecutor Chris Mutangadura said the state will challenge the Harare High Court’s decision to throw out its application to appeal an order given last week to grant Bennett bail.

Bennett, the treasurer of the Movement for Democratic Change, is Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s pick for deputy agriculture minister in the new unity government, but has yet to be sworn in.

"In terms of the law, nothing has changed," said Mutangadura after the ruling.

"Although the judge has dismissed our application for leave to appeal on the grounds that our chances of success are slim … we will be filing to the Supreme Court against that decision."

Bennett was arrested as Tsvangirai was being sworn in on February 13, and was charged last week with possession of arms for banditry, insurgency and terrorism.

"The judge has dismissed the application for leave to appeal but nothing has changed as the state has indicated that it wants to go to the Supreme Court," Bennett’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told reporters.

His case has raised doubts about the durability of Zimbabwe’s unity government, which was formed this month after nearly a year of turmoil stemming from disputed elections last March. – AFP