Roy, Heather Bennett memorial on today

MUTARE - A memorial service for the late prominent opposition couple — Roy and Heather Bennett, who died in a helicopter crash in the US state of New Mexico last month will be held in Chimanimani today.

The event is expected to be graced by senior opposition figures, local traditional leaders and the community.

Former Mutare Mayor and a family friend Brian James facilitated the memorial following consultations with Bennet’s family and traditional leaders.

“We consulted traditional leaders because before Roy bought his farm he had also consulted them,” James told the Daily News.

The couple died alongside three others with only one person surviving with injuries.

With his fluent Shona, earthy manner and passion for political change, Bennett won a strong following in Chimanimani where he was affectionately known as “Pachedu,” meaning “one of us” in Shona.

Roy was once jailed for a year for assaulting minister Patrick Chinamasa who had said Bennett’s “forefathers were thieves and murderers” during a parliamentary debate.

Once released, Bennett fled the country into self-imposed exile in South Africa until his return in 2009 after his party then — MDC nominated him for the deputy Agriculture minister in the coalition government.

Former president Robert Mugabe refused to swear him in.

He later returned to South Africa where he remained critical of Zanu PF rule while also turning on his former opposition comrades for allegedly enjoying the comforts of government while ordinary Zimbabweans suffered.

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