The accidental death of a Zimbabwean opposition leader, killed in a helicopter crash near the Colorado border, has dashed hopes that he will help turn the country more democratic. Associated Press editor Andrew Meldrum tells Colorado Matters that Roy Bennett, who died January 17, was, "a very sharp thorn of Mugabe and his party from 2000 until very recently."

Bennett was a White farmer who gained a mostly Black political following -- an unusual circumstance that put him in the crosshairs of longtime dictator Robert Mugabe, who resigned after a coup in November. Mugabe's departure sparked hope that Bennett would be able to return to Zimbabwe and reinvigorate a movement towards democracy, which has been elusive in Zimbabwe ever since it gained independence in 1980. Bennett and his wife reportedly had ties to Colorado, and spent significant time in the state before the accident that killed them both.