Roy Bennett: A Life in Quotes

Roy Bennett: A Life in Quotes
(Last Updated On: January 20, 2018)

“I never made any comments nor have I done any interviews with anyone, I never have and never will talk to the Zanu-PF propaganda machine. I am not doing any interviews on internal party issues.” – Roy Bennett, Bulawayo 24, 8 April 2014. 

“Mr [Morgan] Tsvangirai has served two terms and is nearly completing a third. Deep introspection needs to be undertaken by our national collective leadership, not for purposes of looking for scapegoats, but for our party to reinvigorate its leadership with a leadership which reflects the will of our people.” – Roy Bennett, The Herald, 8 April 2014. 

‘We need to question each other, we need to stand up, we need to be transparent, we need to be accountable and we need to accept responsibility of our actions.” – Roy Bennett, VOA News, 20 September 2013. 

“There are individuals within the MDC who through their participation in the government of national unity lost touch with the people and have tried to re-endorse themselves forcibly upon the people without respecting the people’s will and allowing the democratic process to take place at grassroots level. The people of the MDC know who they are… They know what the issues are and everybody knows where those issues lie. It’s individuals who have possibly felt insecure over their positions, tried to create parallel structures and force candidates on the electorate in support of their positions.” – Roy Bennett, VOA News, 20 September 2013. 

“If Morgan Tsvangirai in his individual capacity took that decision then he must resign.” – Roy Bennett, VOA News, 16 September 2013. 

“I do have very strong regrets that the MDC-T [Movement for Democratic Change] went into the unity government. I was opposed to it at the time because the duplicity and dishonesty of ZANU-PF is on record for everyone to see. Remember for example, Gukurahundi and ZAPU which was swallowed and its leaders corrupted to become puppets and yes men to ZANU-PF. However, I was persuaded by the desperate humanitarian situation which prevailed at that time, which affected all of the people of Zimbabwe. A compromise was required. South Africans gave me assurances, purportedly from the acting president Kgalema Motlanthe, through the South African Secret Service, that South Africa would support the unfolding democratic process. They also guaranteed my personal security. Later on I was assured the facilitator would undertake that a transition to free and fair elections would be a prerequisite demanded by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) with full compliance in every respect of the terms contained in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).” – Roy Bennett, Financial Gazette, 12 September 2013.

“Some of my colleagues appointed to Cabinet have tried their level best under very difficult circumstances to improve the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe. This came at great sacrifice to our party. Many senior MDC-T party members had little time for party matters. The Prime Minister’s appointment as a ceremonial PM carried with it no power whatsoever. Unfortunately, our president (Tsvangirai) got sucked into a web of ZANU-PF Central Intelligence Organisation orchestrated scandals. These have tarnished the credibility of our party. They have haunted the MDC-T leadership and distracted it from the clear objective our people require, which is the removal of the ZANU-PF militarised dictatorship. Therefore the so called unity government gave President Mugabe and ZANU-PF a lifeline which they have grabbed and endeavoured to bury the MDC-T in the recent fraudulent electoral process.” – Roy Bennett, Financial Gazette, 12 September 2013.

“The MDC-T is not vanquished. I remain consistently of the view that the MDC is a people’s driven institution, bigger than any individual or group of individuals. Once party events play out, I am even more confident than ever, believe it or not, that the MDC will emerge more disciplined, more democratic, and more closely aligned to the interests of our people.” – Roy Bennett, Financial Gazette, 12 September 2013.

“There was no loss to ZANU-PF by the MDC-T. The decision to participate in the election was internal and certainly the biggest factor however, to participate in an election without the necessary reforms to enable a fair election was suicidal. Many regard the participation as a sell-out of our members and the people of Zimbabwe. Had it been fair with the outstanding issues of the GPA implemented, ZANU-PF would have suffered a crushing defeat.” – Roy Bennett, Financial Gazette, 12 September 2013.

“Tsvangirai has served two terms and is nearly completing a third. Deep introspection needs to be undertaken by our national collective leadership, not for purposes of looking for scapegoats, but for our party to reinvigorate itself with a leadership which reflects the will of our people. Regrettably, some within our leadership, as in the case with many political parties, do not wish  the grass roots democratic will of the people to prevail.” – Roy Bennett, Financial Gazette, 12 September 2013.

“I believe the MDC-T needs to undertake a range of strategic options. The elections have not been endorsed as fair by any credible government other than Iran!  Sanctions remain in place. The party now needs to   adopt a far more assertive stance in regard to ZANU-PF. It needs to do so both internally and externally with renewed vigour and steadfast determination. ZANU-PF’s record over 30 years speaks for itself. They are utterly incompetent. Zimbabwe is a veritable basket case, a pariah state shunned by democratic governments all over the world.” – Roy Bennett, Financial Gazette, 12 September 2013.

“There are no factions that I am aware of within the MDC-T [when asked about factions in the MDC-T]. There might be differences at leadership level, as there is in most democratic political parties, but at grass roots level the MDC continues to be strong, united and supported by the overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans.” – Roy Bennett, Financial Gazette, 12 September 2013.

“I have not quit the MDC-T [when asked about the allegations that he quit the MDC-T]. I posted to my friends on Facebook that I would have nothing to do with a process which legitimises and in effect throws ZANU-PF yet another lifeline. How can our party on the one hand cry foul, over the unfairness of the elections, and then participate in the very illegally elected discredited government? Participation would constitute a total betrayal to the millions who endured extreme personal sacrifice to vote. What message would it send to SADC, the AU and the international community? After many fraudulent African elections, people cry foul and then simply move forward — business as usual.” – Roy Bennett, Financial Gazette, 12 September 2013.

“If the MDC-T had stuck to the GPA and insisted on its implementation then I believe they would have stayed the course but when the MDC-T said they were going into elections, South Africa pulled back. Their role was far from satisfactory as there was a disputed election, the whole reason for the GPA was that there would be an undisputed election after all reforms  were implemented and today we have a rigged election and serious disputes.” – Roy Bennett, Financial Gazette, 12 September 2013.

“I cannot and will not betray the principles and values, which gave birth to the MDC. The MDC was formed with the mission of liberating the people from dictatorship and creating a government that would serve our electorate transparently and truthfully. We now need to revisit those founding values. A free, democratic society which with a clear vision of alleviating poverty, affording transparent access to land, and providing increasing employment opportunities remains impossible with the corrupt and murderous ZANU-PF regime in power. A constitution truly incorporating one-man, one-vote, and a non-racial, non-tribal, non-ethnic society, buttressed by freedom of speech and association, a free press and media with a credible independent and impartial judiciary, seems far more distant today than ever.” – Roy Bennett, Bulawayo 24, 8 September 2018.

“Having just been denied a fair and transparent vote with an election blatantly rigged, can we as a party lay the blame totally at the feet of ZANU-PF? I am not implying that the election was anything but a grand theft. However, our party could have gone into the election in a much stronger position’in terms of organization, structural integrity and ground level participation. In my humble opinion, being exiled, but still in day-to-day contact with Zimbabwean grass root activists, I am of the view that our party needs some serious introspection.” – Roy Bennett, Bulawayo 24, 8 September 2018.

“Having tasted the comfortable life of government money, and power, how many of our leaders focused on their own government positions and ignored their constituencies? This behavior is as a result, and follows on from our last divisive congress, where structures were formed by some in senior leadership who advanced their own interests by imposing unpopular representatives with little or no grass roots support thus resulting in division throughout, considerably weakening our structures.” – Roy Bennett, Bulawayo 24, 8 September 2018.

“I am often accused of being idealistic and speaking my mind. But friends, I was elected into office unanimously and democratically by congress. Whatever I am, I am truthful. It is not about me ! I am the people who elected me.” – Roy Bennett, Bulawayo 24, 8 September 2018.

“I watch from exile in the diaspora and pray that all our leaders elected at congress take a good hard look in the mirror. Those who have been involved in self-centered politics, who have discredited the values our party, and who made decisions which have denied people the right of a transparent and free election, should do the honorable thing and tender their resignations. It is time for a united, accountable, cohesive, value based, trusted leadership to finish our noble struggle.” – Roy Bennett, Bulawayo 24, 8 September 2018.

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