Roy Bennett, deputy minister of agriculture and treasurer of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the opposition party headed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, was a special guest of WorldCanvass Studio on October 3, 2011.
Bennett is a white farmer and former policeman who was elected to the House of Assembly in 2000 from a largely black district despite intimidation and physical attacks on his family and himself. The MDC won the very tight 2008 election, and was recognized internationally as the winner; however, Robert Mugabe and his party, the Zimbabwe African National Union, refused to give up control. After the MDC agreed to share power with Mugabe's party, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai designated Bennett deputy minister of agriculture.
Bennett has been imprisoned repeatedly and has decried the human rights violations and appalling conditions prisoners are subjected to under Mugabe's rule. His well-being constantly under threat, he has lived for several years in exile in South Africa and London. He continues to advocate for democracy and an end to repression in Zimbabwe as he awaits the next round of elections.
Other participants in the WorldCanvass Studio are Lyombe Eko, UI professor of journalism and mass communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and co-director of the African Studies Program, a part of International Programs; and Farai Marazi, a UI doctoral student in anthropology from Zimbabwe.