MDC official in court as new Zimbabwe gov't begins work | world | Hindustan Times
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MDC official in court as new Zimbabwe gov't begins work

world Updated: Feb 16, 2009 12:55 IST
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A top opposition official earmarked for a deputy ministerial post will appear in court on Monday on terrorism charges, just as Zimbabwe's fledging unity government reports for work.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) treasurer general and deputy minister of agriculture designate Roy Bennett will appear in Mutare magistrate's court at 10 am (0800 GMT), the party said in a statement.

Police on Sunday dropped treason accusations against Bennett, who returned from self-imposed exile last month, but charged him with attempt to commit terrorism, banditry and sabotage.

His court appearance comes as the new unity government is due to begin work on Monday, with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister, after President Robert Mugabe swore in its ministers last week.

The state-run Herald newspaper said the incoming ministers would move into their offices from 9 am for briefings and handover formalities ahead of an inaugural cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The MDC on Monday demanded the release of Bennett as well as other detained opposition activists, saying the charges against him were "discredited and shown to be fictitious".

"Clearly they are on a fishing expedition, clutching at straws and know fully well that there is no basis, even suspicion, at law to charge Roy Bennett," the party said.