Monday, 18 June, 2018

Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Roy Bennett Dies in NM Helicopter Crash

Zimbabwe mourns Bennett'sharpest thorn in Mugabe's side Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed
Kenny Thornton | 20 January, 2018, 05:01

Founding Movement for Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett died in a helicopter crash in a remote area of the USA state of New Mexico, authorities said Thursday.

The couple are said to have died in a helicopter accident, but at this stage it's not been confirmed exactly where this happened.

It is unclear what Bennett was doing in New Mexico.

A husband and wife who pushed for political change in Zimbabwe, an adventurous Texas investor and a pair of decorated pilots died in a fiery helicopter crash in a remote area in the USA state of New Mexico. The crash injured one person aboard.

He went into exile in South Africa almost 10 years ago after years of struggling against the government of Robert Mugabe.

The group had been travelling to a ranch when the helicopter came down in a remote area of the state and burst into flames.

Trump defends self after comments: 'I'm not a racist'
He talked about the hot-button topic of DACA and said that "Democrats were not helping" and that they did not want to make a deal. Dr Jackson's highly-anticipated report came after the United States leader carried out a physical examination last Friday.

Obert Gutu, spokesman for the MDC-T opposition party, said the loss of Bennett, a white man who spoke fluent Shona and drew the wrath of former President Robert Mugabe, was tragic. In 2004, he physically assaulted the then justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, during the parliament debate after the minister said Bennett's "forefathers were thieves and murderers".

A party statement called Bennett "a resolute and committed fighter for democratic change in Zimbabwe". He was known as "Pachedu", meaning "one of us" in Shona and was often called the sharpest thorn in Mugabe's side.

He emerged from prison rail-thin and scarred from repeated sunburns.

A white former farmer, who became the MDC treasurer general, Bennett was in 2009 nominated as deputy agriculture minister in the government of prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe, who had repeatedly alleged Bennett was the opposition party's contact with foreign funders, refused to swear him in. Afterwards‚ he left Zimbabwe for South Africa and never returned. The helicopter went down about 6 p.m. Wednesday near the Colorado state line.

The mother of the lone survivor of a New Mexico helicopter crash that killed five people, including a Zimbabwe opposition leader, says her daughter is distraught. They said the response was slow because of the rugged terrain and remote area, which has few roads.

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