A Zimbabwe court on Tuesday charged a senior MDC party official over a plot involving terrorism and insurgency, just days after the party joined a unity government with President Robert Mugabe.

Roy Bennett was charged with illegally possessing firearms for the purposes of trying to commit acts of insurgency, banditry and terrorism and violating the Immigration Act for trying to leave the country illegally last Friday.

Bennett, who was meant to be deputy farm minister in the administration, was arrested before ministers were sworn in on Friday after entering the country from South Africa and the case raised doubts among political analysts about the new government.

But a senior party official said the MDC may be reluctant to quit the new unity government formed to lead the country out of economic crisis despite Bennett’s arrest.

Wearing a white T-shirt and three-quarter khaki shorts, Bennett looked composed at his court appearance.

The prosecution, with the consent of the defence, agreed that the charges should be changed from treason to illegal possession of firearms for insurgency, banditry or terrorism purposes and violating immigration laws. Bennett, a founding MDC member, is a former white farmer and legislator is of Mugabe’s most outspoken critics.



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