Chief wants him back in Chimanimani

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Roy Bennett who is on trial for terror related offenses has found strong support from a Chimanimani chief.

Chief Ringisai Chikukwa and his headmen from Chimanimani have declared their unwavering support for Bennett and they have resolved to engage government on the matter.

They want Bennett to return to his Pachedu Farm in Chimanimani, which was seized by government seven years ago.

The seized farm is under Chief Chikukwa’s jurisdiction.

In the ongoing trial Bennett mantains that he is innocent.

Peter Hitschmann the main witness in the trial has refused to implicate the MDC-T treasurer in any wrong doing.

In an exclusive interview with NewsDay Chief Chikukwa said he and several headmen from his area had been travelling all the way from Chimanimani to attend Bennett’s trial in Harare.

“I am a fair leader and what I am saying is that all the people in my area are my subjects and they all deserve equal treatment. Bennett, and those Arda people who are now at his farm, are all my subjects.

“Too many people in my area are crying out for Bennett’s return. They miss the many good things he did for them before he was chased away.

“It is because of this outcry from the people that I have come to hear with my own ears what exactly is going on with Bennett. That is why I have come to court,” Chief Chikukwa said in an interview with NewsDay outside the High Court last week.

Bennett who speaks fluent Shona was already very popular with the ordinary people of Chimanimani even before he joined the MDC. He is known for his extraordinary benevolence and participation in traditional activities in the communities of Chimanimani, where he owned a flourishing coffee farm.

“Every year Bennett donated a beast to every headman in our area for slaughter during the annual traditional rain making ceremonies.

“His farm employed hundreds of families and besides the weekly wages, Bennett gave every family food rations and countless other things that the community now miss badly,” said an old woman who had also travelled over 200 km from Chimanimani to come to Harare for Bennett’s trial.

Chief Chikukwa implored the Ministry of Lands to return the seized farm to Bennett so that he could return “home”.

The bold move could place the Chimanimani chief and his headmen in direct conflict with those opposed to Bennett’s freedom. The trial of the designated deputy agriculture minister continues tomorrow.