Bennett 'to expose' corruption

2010-05-11 11:59

Johannesburg - A top aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Tuesday he would expose "lies, deceit and theft" in Zimbabwe after he is sworn in as deputy agriculture minister.

Roy Bennett, a 53-year-old former white farmer, was acquitted on Monday on charges plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe that had already been discredited by another court.

"When you are dealing with people who hide in dark corners, who kill people and murder and maim and rule by absolute fear...the biggest thing they fear is the shining light in those dark corners and they fear truth and honesty," Bennett told South Africa's Radio 702.

"So my positioning as deputy minister of agriculture will open a can of worms because I would be able to expose a lot of the lies, deceit and theft that is taking place in Zimbabwe."

Tsvangirai's pick for deputy agriculture minister in the fragile year-old unity government, Bennett was arrested in February 2009 shortly before he was to be sworn in. He was accused of funding a plot to topple Mugabe four years ago.

After his acquittal on Monday, Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change called for Bennett to take office, with his trial one of the issues threatening the unity government.

Bennett said there had been progress in the work of the unity government, with media, constitutional and electoral commissions in place.

He said he had expected the trial to go on indefinitely and his acquittal was a sign that there was pressure on Mugabe.

"I think there is a lot of pressure and there are a lots of things happening in Zimbabwe and continue to happen on a daily basis that one would never have expected, my acquittal yesterday for example," he said.

"So definitely there are pressures and definitely the process is moving forward, albeit slowly."