Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Wednesday, December 23, 1998 Published at 23:07 GMT

World: Africa

Banana sentence postponed

Canaan Banana: Talk of a deal brokered by President Mandela

The High Court in Zimbabwe has postponed the sentencing of the former president, Canaan Banana, on charges of sodomy and homosexual assault.

The postponement comes amid talk of a deal between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his South African counterpart Nelson Mandela, which could involve a pardon or reduced sentence for Mr Banana.

Mr Banana returned last week from South Africa, where he met President Mandela.

His return to Zimbabwe came just days after a meeting between Mr Mandela and Mr Mugabe, where Mr Banana's case is believed to have been discussed.

It is widely believed Mr Mandela may have arranged a deal which persuaded Mr Banana to return to Zimbabwe.

Postponing sentencing until 18 January, Judge President Godfrey Chidyausiku said he needed more time to consider submissions from the state and the defence.

Mr Banana is to remain under house arrest in Harare pending sentencing.

'Suffered enough'

Lawyers for Mr Banana pleaded for a fine and no jail sentence.

They spoke of his poor health, and the fact that he had suffered enough with adverse press coverage.

Mr Banana was convicted in absentia on 10 charges involving sodomy and indecent assault, and one count of common assault. Most of the charges relate to the period between 1980 and 1987 when he was president.

The former head of state and Methodist clergyman faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Chief prosecutor Augustine Chikumira acknowledged in court that "political considerations" were in play, but added that these aspects of the case "must be considered by politicians and I would rather leave it to them."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

03 Dec 98 | Africa
Mandela meets fugitive ex-leader

26 Nov 98 | Africa
Warrant out for former Zimbabwe President

Internet Links

Virtual Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Independent

Zimbabwe Homepage

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

Sudan power struggle denied

Animal airlift planned for Congo

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Zimbabwe constitution: Just a bit of paper?

South African gays take centre stage

Nigeria's ruling party's convention

UN to return to Burundi

Bissau military hold fire

Nile basin agreement on water cooperation

Congo Brazzaville defends peace initiative

African Media Watch

Liberia names new army chief