Jailed Zimbabwe official listed for swearing in

February 19, 2009 12:00 am

, HARARE, Feb 19 – Roy Bennett, the MDC nominee for Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government in custody since last week, was included in a list of junior cabinet members to be sworn in Thursday, state radio reported on Wednesday.

"On behalf of his excellency President Robert Mugabe, the chief secretary to the office of cabinet Meshack Sibanda wishes to advise the following to report at state house at 12 noon tomorrow," Spot radio said.

According to the radio station, the name of the detained Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ministerial nominee Roy Bennett was among those summoned to the state house for the swearing in.

A court in the eastern town of Mutare on Wednesday adjourned the case against Bennett, who has been proposed for the role of deputy minister of agriculture, until March 4.

He is accused of illegal possession of arms for the purposes of committing banditry, insurgency and terrorism, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

His arrest last Friday came shortly before the swearing in of other members of the unity government — casting doubt on the credibility of the newly formed power-sharing accord.

His charges have been changed several times since his arrest — with his party claiming that the charges against the former farmer were "trumped up."

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was last week sworn in as prime minister, joining his rival, President Robert Mugabe, in the historic unity government.


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