MDC to stand by Bennett – Chamisa

Harare – The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has vowed it will not give up on the fight to have its treasurer general Roy Bennett sworn in as Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

MDC spokesperson told a press briefing Friday his party will not be under pressure to appoint another person to fill up the post, which has been vacant since the inauguration of the inclusive government in February last year.

“It’s a question of principle not principal, said Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa on Friday at a press briefing. "We should not be drawn into arguing about principle.

If MDC are supposed to as a party come up with its own choice of ministers, they should come up with its own ministers. What we are contesting is the principle of a certain political party seeking to invalidate and negate our decision as a party.

That is what we are fighting. It’s more on the principle than the principal. We have a lot of competent cadres but the point is we have chosen a particular cadre.”

Bennett, a close ally to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, faces charges of terrorism, which carry a death sentence if convicted.

President Robert Mugabe is adamant he will not swear in the embattled MDC legislator before he can first clear his name with the courts. The Zimbabwean leader says the MDC can still appoint any of its officials to fill in the post if at all it feels prejudiced by the vacuum.

But Chamisa challenged the assertion saying it was not up to the veteran leader to dictate on how his party should appoint its officials to government posts.

“Mr Mugabe was given powers to simply swear in, not to do some kind of interrogation on each and every one of our candidates,” said Chamisa. Those powers belong to our principal President Morgan Tsvangirai the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.”

Bennett’s trial resumed on Monday after a month’s break. The trial continues on Monday next week.