Roy Bennett
Roy Bennett, MDC-T
Roy Bennett
BornRoy Leslie Bennett
(1957-02-16) February 16, 1957 (age 65)
Died18 Janury 2018
Colfax County, New Mexico, United States
Cause of deathHelicopter Crash
Other namesLeslie
EmployerMovement for Democratic Change
Known forThe white man who spoke fluent Shona language
Political partyMovement for Democratic Change
Opponent(s)Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front
Spouse(s)Heather Bennett

Roy Leslie Bennett, Pachedu was a was a commercial farmer, politician, and treasurer general of the Movement for Democratic Change, then the faction led my Morgan Tsvangirai, (MDC-T). He was living in exile until his death in January 2018. [1]

Personal Details

Born: 16 February 1957 to Charles Patrick Galway and Catherina Maria Bennett.
Marriage: To Heather and together had two children. Heather lost their third child, when she was 5 months pregnant after being physically abused by Zanu-PF activists after they invaded their farm during the 2000 election campaign.[2] Death: 18 January 2018 in Colfax County, New Mexico, United States. He was involved in a helicopter accident when he and his wife were visiting some friends. Below is a report from the Police in New Mexico.


New Mexico State Police Respond to Fatal Helicopter Crash Killing Five in New Mexico

Raton, NM – Around 6,00 p.m. on January 17, 2018; Raton, New Mexico Police Department (RPD) dispatch contacted New Mexico State Police regarding a call of a downed helicopter. RPD received a 911 call from a victim in the crash who reported the incident. The victim informed dispatch there were six people aboard the helicopter when it crashed. The caller reported three were injured and the other three unaccounted for. The exact location of the crash was uncertain.

Area law enforcement, including New Mexico State Police, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and Colfax County Sheriffs Department began searching for the site. Local fire departments and EMS were also activated. A fire was reported at a nearby ranch, approximately ten miles east of Raton. The downed helicopter was believed to have caused the fire. The New Mexico State Police Aircraft Division deployed a helicopter to assist in the search.

Fire department and law enforcement vehicles responded to the area, but response was slow due to the area being extremely remote with rugged terrain and limited road access. The wreckage was spotted in a rancher’s property east of Raton. A grass fire had burned the area of approximately a mile radius around the crash site.

New Mexico State Police officers on scene reported the helicopter wreckage had been engulfed in fire making identification difficult. Three individuals were located at the site deceased. Two other male subjects were alive but in critical condition. The passenger who called 911 was injured but able to give some information. Officers and EMS began immediate medical treatment on scene. One of the pas.ngers in critical condition died at the scene a short time later. Another succumbed to injuries while en route to a hospital via air medical transport.

The deceased have been identified as Jamie Coleman Dodd (57) of Trinidad, CO – pilot Paul Cobb (67) of Conroe, TX- co-pilot Charles Ryland Burnett (61) of Houston. TX Roy Bennett (60) of Colorado and South Africa Eileen Bennett (55) of Colorado

The survivor of the crash sustained serious injuries but is expected to survive. The nature of this flight is not known. The helicopter has been identified as a private Huey helicopter.


Bennett was a policeman in Rhodesia. He and was alleged to be a member of the Selous Scouts, but this is not likely to have been true (although there are no Rhodesian records to check). Bennett joined the British South African Police in 1974 and left it in 1978 to train at an agricultural college and began farming in 1980.

Commercial Farming

Initially, he farmed in the northwest of Zimbabwe and then from 1993 in the Chimanimani district, where he bought Charles estate, a 7000-acre property with his life's savings. Bennett sought permission from the government and was given a legal document from the ministry of agriculture, which had stated that the government had no interest in the property for resettlement purposes. He managed to develop the property into Charleswood farm where he was farming coffee, maize, horticultural products and keeping cattle. He employed more than 2000 people in peak season and trained 42 local farmers on how to grow coffee. Bennett was a successful commercial farmer. He later lost his Charleswood Farm to government land invasions. [3]

Political career

Roy Bennett had a very good relationship with community elders that in mid-1999 they approached him so that he could represent them in the general elections scheduled for 2000. He was however rejected by Zanu PF. The elders asked him again to stand this time as a candidate for the newly formed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in September 1999. During the brutal 2000 election campaign, Zanu PF supporters invaded Bennett's farm whilst he was away, held a political rally and forced workers to chant political slogans. He defeated his Zanu PF opponent Munacho Mutezo for the Chimanimani seat. When the MDC party split in 2005 he went with the MDC-T. In 2006 he was initially charged with attempting to leave the country illegally and charges were later changed to plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe. Roy Bennett then fled to South Africa where he sought political asylum of which he was eventually granted. He was reappointed treasurer for MDC-T while in exile. [4]

In the 2000 Elections, (see A History of Zimbabwean Elections) Chimanimani returned to Parliament:

Positions Held

He became a member of parliament for Chimanimani from 2000-2005. In 2000-2002 was treasurer for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). He was a member of the MDC standing committee from 2002-2007. He was re-elected treasurer of MDC-T in 2007 to 2018 when he passed on.and was deputy Minister of Agriculture designate from 2009-2013 for MDC-T he was never sworn in.In 2009 after his party nominated him for the deputy agriculture Minister in a coalition government with Zanu-PF, Robert Mugabe, who had repeatedly alleged Bennett was the opposition party’s contact with foreign funders, refused to swear him in.



Bennett had a confrontation with the then Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa in 2004 during a parliamentary debate then it degenerated into a physical fight. Didymus Mutasa who was then Zanu PF anti-corruption minister joined the melee including the now deceased Zanu PF member of parliament Elliot Manyika. MDC-T members of parliament Nelson Chamisa and Willias Madzumire joined the fight. Bennett was subsequently escorted out of parliament. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and served 8 months of that, this was the first sentence of this kind in Zimbabwe. [5]

He was very fluent in Shona and known as Pachedu which means between us.

Further Reading