Bennett acusses CIO of threatening him

bennettSenator Roy Bennett, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate has claimed he is being victimised by the Presidents Office, in an attempt to intimidate him not to take up his government position. (Pictured : "Pachedu" Roy Bennett)

The MDC Treasurer General said that on Tuesday evening three armed men, claiming to be from the Presidents office went to his plot just outside Harare demanding to see the official. The men allegedly threatened to shoot his employees when they wouldnt allow them access.

The MDC official told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday: (This is) sheer desperation and obviously very bad faith on the side of ZANU PF. Whether it is ZANU PF as a whole, whether it is military elements, I dont know. But it is a threat from the Presidents office.

He said the men, who were very aggressive to his employees, refused to show their identity cards although they claimed they were from the Presidents office.

Meanwhile, an MDC statement issued on Wednesday said: This incident cannot be taken lightly, particularly with the declared hatred of the person of Senator Bennett by some in ZANU PF, particularly the residual elements We interpret these three men as nothing but a hit squad.

The news comes a week after another MDC official and Finance Minister Tendai Biti said he received a live bullet in an envelope at his home.

Bennett, who has been a thorn in the side for some members of ZANU PF, said he didnt bother to make a report to the police who he claims, apply the law selectively.

I have lived now for 9 years making reports on the destruction of my property, the killing of my animals, the theft of my properties, the killing of my workers, the theft of everything, and I have never ever had one single piece of assistance from the police. So I dont even want to report to them anymore because it is a waste of time, he said.

The frustrated MDC official did not put much hope in getting help from his colleague in the party Giles Mutsekwa, who is also co-Minister of Home Affairs a portfolio that is in charge of the police force. Bennett said: He is in charge of nothing. I think he is there as a figure head. He certainly has no power and certainly has had no power to stop any lawlessness, or be of any help towards any side of the MDC. The harassment, the beatings they continue.

Early this year, Bennett spent a month in remand prison after he was arrested on allegations of terrorism and sabotage. He denies the charges and says it is part of the victimisation campaign he has been forced to endure since becoming MP for Chimanimani in 2000. The MDC official, who is currently out on bail, was arrested shortly after his return from South Africa where he had been living as a refugee.

Prior to that he was jailed in 2004 and spent almost a year in jail for pushing ZANU PFs Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in parliament. Chinamsa had taunted the then MP: Mr. Bennett has not forgiven the government for acquiring his farm, but he forgets that his forefathers were thieves and murderers.

At present the Senator is the only Deputy Minister designate who still has not been sworn into the new government, seven months after it was formed. The MDC says Robert Mugabe is refusing to swear him in claiming he is still facing serious terrorism charges.

It had been reported that he would be sworn in together with the new governors this month, but on Wednesday Bennett said nothing is moving regarding the issue of his swearing-in. He said the Global Political Agreement has been signed but it is not being implemented, and he believes his party is still a junior partner in this power sharing government. Mugabe still makes all executive decisions and every message that is coming through the state media is continued hate speech, and continuing to show people that ZANU PF are still in power, and that basically we are the junior party, a nonentity in the whole arrangement, Bennett remarked.

The Senator said decisive action is now needed, as what is happening is beginning to create a bridge between the MDC and civil society, and creating a bridge between the party and its supporters.

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