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Zimbabwe Cabinet Pick Faces Terrorism Charges


Authorities in Zimbabwe have dropped treason charges against a would-be member of the new government, but still plan to bring him to court Monday to face other charges.

Lawyers for Roy Bennett, an MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) party member and ally of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, say he faces charges of attempting to commit acts of terrorism, insurgency and banditry.

Security agents arrested Bennett on Friday, shortly before he was to be sworn in as deputy minister of agriculture.

Mr. Tsvangirai said the arrest was politically motivated and proves that elements within President Robert Mugabe's party are determined to undermine the new power-sharing government.

Bennett is a white farmer whose property was expropriated under President Mugabe's land reform program.

He returned recently from at least two years of self-imposed exile in South Africa. Bennett fled there after Zimbabwean police sought to question him in connection with the discovery of an arms cache.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai was sworn in Wednesday after months of wrangling over details on how to share power with long-time President Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's economy and humanitarian situation have grown worse by the week while the sides argued. The country is facing widespread food shortages, 94 percent unemployment, an inflation rate in the hundreds of millions, and a cholera epidemic that has now killed more than 3,500 people.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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