Zimbabwe’s fugitive former president, Reverend Canaan Banana, has returned to the country after fleeing last month ahead of a court appearance and was immediately placed under house arrest on Wednesday, a government spokesman told IRIN.
Banana slipped out of Zimbabwe before being convicted in absentia of 11 charges, including homosexual assault. After a brief remand hearing on Wednesday, Banana told reporters he had been subjected to “political assassination”. He said he had left the country for Botswana and gone on to South Africa “because I was in possession of dangerous information which I had to share with my real friends.”
The 62-year-old Methodist clergyman, who was Zimbabwe’s head of state from 1980-1987, met President Festus Mogae of Botswana and President Nelson Mandela of South Africa before returning.
Judge President Godfrey Chidyausiku ordered that he remain at his luxurious suburban home in Harare under police guard until the next court hearing on December 23 when he will appear for sentencing.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions