News / Africa

Zimbabwe's Roy Bennett Hit With New Charges

President Mugabe says he will not swear Bennett into office until courts clear him of all outstanding charges

Peta Thornycroft

Roy Bennett, a senior member of the Movement for Democratic Change, was charged with breaking Zimbabwe's maize law. The deputy agriculture minister designate in the shaky 13-month-old inclusive government is already on trial on treason charges. President Robert Mugabe has said he will not swear Mr. Bennett into office until the courts clear him of all outstanding charges.

Mr. Bennett was slapped with new charges Wednesday in which the attorney-general accused him of abusing state corn laws nine years ago, shortly before he was kicked off his coffee farm in Eastern Zimbabwe.

Since entering politics 10 years ago Bennett has been repeatedly arrested, beaten in detention, and violently evicted from both the coffee farm he owned in eastern Zimbabwe and another piece of land he subsequently rented.

He had to flee from Zimbabwe when some of his associates were arrested and accused of treason.

He returned to Zimbabwe last year as the inclusive government was being formed. MDC Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai appointed him deputy agriculture minister.

Before he was sworn in Bennett was charged with treason.

His treason trial continues and the state has closed its case against him. When he arrived at the Harare High Court Wednesday, further charges were handed to him accusing of being in possession of 92 tons of maize that he did not declare to authorities in 2001. Bennett said the maize was meant to feed workers at his farm.

He said the corn was confiscated by the army and the case against him was abandoned.

There was no reply from state law offices Thursday.

Bennett said the only way ZANU-PF could stop him working towards democracy was to kill him. Nothing else, he said, would work.

"They cannot buy me, and they cannot, cannot intimidate me," said Bennett.

Bennett's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa says the state's case against Bennett for treason has collapsed. She said further charges against were "harassment" and to keep him on trial.

Bennett claims that President Robert Mugabe will not swear him into office because he would have access to damaging information about ZANU-PF, including evidence that top ZANU-PF officials helped themselves to state farm equipment prior to formation of the inclusive government.

Most senior ZANU-PF officials, including Mr. Mugabe, occupy formerly white-owned farms. Mr. Mugabe's confiscation of farms was managed by agriculture minister, Joe Made.

"The ministry of agriculture, mechanization and irrigation has been an avenue for total exploitation by the president, Robert Mugabe through his personal farm manager Joseph Made in exporting state resources for (their own) personal gain," said Bennett.

Bennett said there was nothing ZANU-PF could do to force the MDC to pull out of the inclusive government.

"We are there to fight this thing to the end, and we will fight them step by step, blow by blow, and see it thorough," Bennett added. "We have to make this succeed in the interests of the people of Zimbabwe and in the interests of the nation of Zimbabwe."

Negotiators from Zimbabwe's three political parties have been in talks for days, but failed to meet the March 31 deadline set by South African president Jacob Zuma, who is the Southern African Development Community's mediator on Zimbabwe.

Mr. Zuma told negotiators to produce a timetable for resolution of outstanding issues of the political agreement which lead to formation of the inclusive government.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid