- Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett has been charged by Mutare magistrate for alleged insurgency, conspiring to acquire arms to disrupt essential services and with illegal possession of fire arms and weapons. He was also charged for attempting to leave the country illegally.
Mr Bennett, a close ally to Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who was first charged with leaving the country illegally, then changed to treason before being changed once more to conspiring to acquire arms of war with a view to disrupting essential services was arrested last Friday at Charles Prince Airport while trying to fly to South Africa.
According to MDC statement, police have yet again changed charges for the fourth time charging Mr Bennett with illegal possession of fire weapons.
MDC has denied the charges saying they are just political stunts to stall and disrupt the newly formed unity government which was stalled for almost five months after the agreement was signed in September 2008. "The case against Roy Bennett is driven by a vindictive and malicious political agenda," MDC statement said.
He was due to appear in court yesterday, but did not after police obtained permission from the court to detain him for another 48 hours.
His lawyer, Trust Maanda, confirmed that Mr Bennett would appear in court today, saying his client was supposed to be in court on Monday but were later told by the police that prosecutors in the Attorney-General's office in Harare were supposed to handle the case.
Mr Tsvangirai has described Mr Bennett's arrest and detention as political, adding that he suspected that some senior officials from the rulilng ZANU PF and security chiefs were using the case to try to ruin the unity government.
The MDC and its leader have sounded unwilling to quit the unity government despite the arrest of Mr Bennett, saying the power-sharing government was the only viable option to pluck Zimbabwe out of the economic crisis and misery.
Bennett who was granted political asylum in South Africa in 2007 after fleeing Zimbabwe after police discovered an arms cache at a house in Mutare returned home two weeks ago and was nominated by MDC-T as Deputy Agriculture Minister in the inclusive government formed last week.
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