Americans Shouldn't Ignore This Struggle For Freedom
One of the most hopeful signs for Zimbabwe's future is that many of its people openly reject the racist propaganda regularly trumpeted by the brutal and thuggish President Robert Mugabe.
After Mugabe confiscated successful white-owned farms in the name of racial equality, he handed them over to friends and supporters of his ZANU-PF party. The result was a disaster, with most of the land now without crops, many jobs lost and the Zimbabwean economy in a disastrous state.
For this and other dubious distinctions, Parade Magazine placed Mugabe on their annual list of the world's worst 10 dictators.
Many have fled the country, whites and blacks alike, but not the Bennett family.
As the once modern, well-educated, and stable parliamentary democracy deteriorated into a brutal, repressive and backward state, Roy and Heather Bennett stayed behind to fight for a better future.
That's quite a patriotic commitment given that Mugabe seized their farm along with the others. The Bennett family lost everything they'd owned.
As one of three whites in Zimbabwe's Parliament, Roy Bennett enjoys broad support among his mostly black constituents.
Why? Because his voters know it's about freedom, food on the table and hope for tomorrow, not Mugabe's racism and oppression. Bennett is a Movement For Democratic Change (opposition party) backbencher.
Mugabe has worked hard to punish Bennett for his political success, using his crooked ZANU-PF cronies in parliament to vote to place him in jail, after a floor fight Bennett maintains was part of a set-up.
Now Mugabe is trying to bar Bennett from running again from prison, but a high court ruling giving him a green light has the dictator fuming and working to undo it.
That's a judge in need of a bullet-proof vest, fast.
The MDC is gearing up to run Heather Bennett for the most immediate balloting. The judge's ruling sets a special election for this particular constituency for the end of April.
As freedom-loving Americans, we need to pay closer attention to what's going on in Zimbabwe, as its people struggle for food, freedom and to maintain hope for the future.
(BBC News- 23 March 2005)
Roy Bennett, who is one of three white Zimbabwean MPs, is serving a one-year sentence for assaulting a minister during a debate in parliament.
An electoral court judge last week found Bennett met all the criteria to stand as a candidate from prison.
But President Robert Mugabe said his government would contest the decision.
The electoral court had also ruled that the vote should be put off until 30 April in the eastern district of Chimanimani, where Bennett won a seat in the 2000 elections, so he could campaign.
Bennett, 48, is one of the most prominent candidates of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the largest opposition party.
Mr Mugabe, who branded the ruling "stupid", said the country could not be "held ransom by a man who is in prison".
Bennett's farm has been confiscated by the government under a scheme to give white people's land to poor blacks.
A spokesman for the MDC, Paul Themba-Nyathi, said the party was "shocked" by the appeal from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission - allegedly an independent body.
"It places [the commission] in an invidious position regarding its neutrality in this election," he said of the appeal.