Zimbabwe’s main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change party’s deputy president Nelson Chamisa has described Roy Bennett’s unexpected death in a helicopter crash in the US as “a big loss to the country’s democratic struggle”.
In an interview with News24, Chamisa said that Bennett’s death was a huge blow to democracy, as the country was “on the brink of ushering in a new dispensation that he also suffered greatly to achieve”.
Bennett and his wife Heather were among five people who were killed in a helicopter that went down in a mountainous rural area of northern Mexico.
The helicopter went down at about 18:00 on Wednesday near the Colorado state line.
“Roy suffered a lot to build a new Zimbabwe. He is in the league of those who lost a lot under the [Robert] Mugabe regime. He lost his farm, friends and relatives. He saw it all,” said Chamisa.
Chamisa said that the Morgan Tsvangirai led party would remember the late Bennett as a hero who fought fearlessly to build a new country that was based on “equality and respect”.
“We remember a hero, a comrade and a stalwart. In Shona we say ‘Pachedu’ (we are there for each other). He was truly one of us… I know that many Zimbabweans would want to give Roy a heroes send off. It is unfortunate that he will not see the fruits of his work. We’re truly devastated by his passing,” said Chamisa.
Social media users took to Twitter to express their condolences to the Bennett family.