Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Forget Harry Potter, Jeff Kinney's 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' sells millions

Read more

FOCUS

Child migrants: no parents, no passports

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Thousands flee Libya and Nigeria to seek refuge in Niger

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Sony Pictures reels from cyber-attack

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"Todos somos Americanos"

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cuba-USA: 'A roll of the dice'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The 'Caribbean Wall' is starting to crumble

Read more

WEB NEWS

Sydney siege: Australians show solidarity with Muslims

Read more

ENCORE!

"Charlie's Country" director Rolf de Heer on the contemporary Aboriginal condition

Read more

Africa

Tsvangirai ally Bennett goes on trial for terrorism

Video by Nicolas Germain

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-09

The trial for terrorism of Roy Bennett, an ally of PM Morgan Tsvangirai, opens in Harare on Monday. Bennett, a white former coffee farmer, has been in and out of jail since returning to Zimbabwe in February to join a national unity government.

REUTERS - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's ally Roy Bennett goes on trial accused of terrorism on Monday in a case that has stoked tensions in the unity government of Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

Bennett was arrested in February and charged with illegally possessing arms to commit acts of terrorism, banditry and insurgency, charges that carry a possible death penalty.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the case is politically motivated and the party briefly boycotted the unity government after Bennett, a white former coffee farmer, was detained in prison following his indictment for trial.

Bennett, the MDC treasurer, has denied the charges and the MDC says the case was designed to stop him from taking office as deputy agriculture minister.

"I still maintain my innocence," Bennett told Reuters.

The MDC says Mugabe is frustrating efforts to swear in Bennett, along with other senior MDC officials, as required by a political agreement signed last year between the bitter rival parties.

Mugabe says he does not oppose Bennett becoming a minister but that he should be acquitted by the courts first.

A senior Tsvangirai aide said Mugabe had previously told the former opposition leader that Bennett's nomination was "provocative", especially after an often violent land seizure drive that saw white commercial farmers, including Bennett, losing their land.

Tsvangirai said on Sunday his party would stay in the government and challenge ZANU-PF to implement the power-sharing deal.

In 2004 Bennett was sentenced 12 months in jail after he was convicted of assaulting a ZANU-PF minister during a parliamentary debate.

Bennett, a one-time policeman under Ian's Smith's white-ruled Rhodesia, returned to Zimbabwe in early 2009, shortly before his arrest, after spending two years in exile in South Africa.
 

Date created : 2009-11-09

  • ZIMBABWE

    MDC official Bennett released on bail, trial to begin next week

    Read more

  • ZIMBABWE

    Tsvangirai ends boycott of unity government, but faces a deadline for a deal

    Read more

  • ZIMBABWE

    Expelled UN expert says unity government is not working

    Read more

COMMENT(S)