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Zimbabwe ministerial pick charged

Posted on 06/30/2019 | in 深圳桑拿网 | by

Roy Bennett, a leading figure in Tsvangirai\’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was formally charged with illegal possession of arms for purposes of committing banditry, insurgency and terrorism, as well as immigration violation.

深圳桑拿网

The 52-year-old appeared in the Mutare magistrate\’s court shortly after the historic cabinet session at the Munhumutapa government headquarters in downtown Harare.

He was remanded in custody for a new appearance on Wednesday.

Bennett\’s case had overshadowed the historic cabinet meeting, from which little detail emerged.

“This was a familiarisation of how issues are addressed or are discussed in cabinet,” a government source told AFP.

“It was a really good beginning as members interacted really well.” However, no further details were forthcoming on what issues were raised in the inaugural meeting which lasted around two hours.

“People are sworn to secrecy on the cabinet deliberations,” the source said. Bennett is earmarked to join the government as deputy agriculture minister when junior ministers are sworn in this week.

The arms possession charge stems from 2006, when weapons were discovered in the home of a currently imprisoned former white policeman, Peter Michael Hischmann, who said they belonged to Bennett, a source in the attorney general\’s office said.

The second charge stems from Bennett\’s arrest last week at a Harare airport where he was accused of having tried to leave Zimbabwe without presenting himself to an immigration officer.

The party had maintained that the charges are trumped-up and said Tuesday that it was “inconceivable” that Bennett\’s nomination for office would be withdrawn.

“The earlier that is accepted, the earlier the inclusive government can get down to the real work of creating conditions for economic recovery and dismantling institutions of dictatorship that have haunted Zimbabwe for some long,” it said.

“The country needs healing.” The MDC\’s secretary general and newly appointed finance minister Tendai Biti said Monday the party would take unspecified “action” if Bennett was not released.

“The prime minister is in touch with Mugabe. We hope that the situation will be resolved today,” Biti told South African radio. Ministers in the unity government reported for work Monday, with some holding meetings with Tsvangirai and his deputies, The new Prime Minister also met representatives of teachers unions and donor communities.

Most teachers in public schools have been on strike over pay since last year and Tsvangirai has promised to pay them and other key professionals and soldiers in foreign currency from the end of this month.

Zimbabwe, once seen as a post-colonial success story, has been brought to its knees by the collapse of its economy since the turn of the decade and the inflation rate is now the highest in the world.

The economic crisis has also led to the collapse of the country\’s health infrastructure and more than 3,000 people have been killed by a cholera outbreak in recent weeks.

The former British colony has been ruled since independence in 1980 by Mugabe who was beaten into second place by Tsvangirai in the first-round of a presidential election in March last year.

Tsvangirai subsequently pulled out of the run-off after scores of his supporters were killed and only agreed to enter the unity government after months of wrangling over the division of powers.

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