Saturday, 1 September 2018


MDC-Alliance principal Tendai Biti’s challenge of the jurisdiction of the court to hear his case was yesterday dismissed by Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo for inadequate evidence.
Mr Mapfumo ruled that Biti’s defence counsel failed to produce enough evidence that would prove that the court was not worthy to preside over the case.

“The accused (Biti) was handed to the police by immigration officers so in this case the police did not violate the law,” he said. “There was no violation of international law.

“What the accused uttered in announcing that MDC leader was the winner was indeed violation of the law. No evidence was shown in the court to indicate that even the relatives were harassed and reported the case anywhere.

“The court finds that there is no basis to permanently stay this case and his application therefore has no basis.”

Biti made the application through his lawyers – Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, Messrs Alec Muchadehama, Harrison Nkomo, Gift Mtisi and Denford Halimani.
He was also challenging his arrest.

Biti wanted the court to determine whether his appearance in court was proper considering the circumstances surrounding his arrest and return to Zimbabwe from Zambia.

Biti, who was denied asylum by the Zambian Government after he tried to seek refuge in that country recently, also wanted the court to determine whether or not the police complied with the law after he argued that he was unlawfully arrested in Zambia by unidentified Zimbabwean men.

In his evidence-in-chief led by Ms Mtetwa, Biti had said that his mother, brother and nephew were harassed by unidentified men who went to his mother’s house looking for him.
He claimed that gunshots were fired at his brother when he was on his way to Bindura in the company of his minor children.

Biti said on August 2, there was an attempt on his life by unidentified people driving unmarked vehicles.

The prosecutor Mr Justin Uladi said Biti was running away from his criminal charges and labelled him a fugitive.

After the dismissal of his application, Biti, through his counsel, said he was going to take the matter to the High Court.

Biti also applied for relaxation of bail conditions. “The accused is applying for variation of bail conditions,” said Ms Mtetwa.

“He was ordered to report twice a day, which is quite hectic, therefore, he is applying for cancellation of the conditions as they don’t serve any purpose.

“The basis are grossly unreasonable. The other issue is the accused appeared in court on the 9th of August and has been reporting religiously showing that he can abide by court orders.
“There are already adequate measures of security considering he paid $5 000, surrendered passport and title deeds.”

Mr Mapfumo scrapped the condition that Biti is not supposed to interfere with State witnesses and reduced his reporting frequency to once every Friday instead of twice every day to the police.
Biti is also facing charges of contravening Section 66A (1) of the Electoral Amendment Act Chapter 2:13, which prohibits the unofficial or false declaration of election results.
He is alleged to have unlawfully declared MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the presidential elections on July 30.

The law states that only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is empowered to declare the winner of an election.

Mr Uladi was being assisted by Mr Michael Reza, Ms Chipo Muronda and Mr Jonathan Murombedzi. Chronicle


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