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Zimbabwe PM's Says Aide's Arrest was Politically Motivated

  • VOA News

Zimbabwe's new prime minister said Saturday that the arrest of his aide, who was to be sworn in as deputy minister of agriculture, was an attempt to destroy the coalition government.

Morgan Tsvangirai said the arrest of Roy Bennett was politically motivated and proves that elements within President Robert Mugabe's party are determined to undermine the unity agreement.

Bennett was charged with treason after being detained by security agents shortly before Friday's swearing in of the new Cabinet.

Movement for Democratic Change officials said Roy Bennett was arrested at an airport while trying to leave Zimbabwe.

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

Several years ago, he fled to South Africa when police wanted to question him in connection with the discovery of an arms cache.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in Wednesday after months of wrangling over details on how to share power with long-time President Mugabe, amid worsening economic conditions and the continued detention of several human rights activists.

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