Biti denies acting unlawfully

HARARE - MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti, who is being charged for prematurely announcing presidential election results acted lawfully in accordance with provisions of the Electoral Act, a court heard yesterday.

Biti was represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, Alec Muchadehama and Harrison Nkomo when he appeared before Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo for continuation of a hearing of a challenge he has lodged disputing the authority of the court to prosecute him.

He is charged with contravening the Electoral Act and inciting the violence that rocked Harare on August 1.

Mtetwa referred the court to section 66a (3) which authorises publication of information derived from polling station-based returns.

“…he or she shall not be construed as preventing any person from reporting the number of votes received by a candidate or political party in an election, where the report is based on polling station returns and constituency returns from the election concerned…,” reads the section.

Mtetwa was cross examining the investigating officer Jealous Nyabasa, who emphasised that Biti had acted contrary to the law.

She said the police had not communicated their intentions to interview Biti to any of his lawyers. She also stated that Muchadehama and Nkomo had approached the Harare Central Police Station’s Law and Order Section to inquire about their attitude towards their client’s apprehension, to no avail.

“Why did you not call the accused person? You accept that Muchadehama attended at Law and Order to arrange for the accused person’s interview? Are you aware that it is normal procedure for lawyers to make such arrangements?” Mtetwa grilled Nyabasa.

Nyabasa responded that Biti should have approached his offices because he had been alerted through television and newspapers that police were looking for him.

Biti is arguing that Zimbabwean courts do not have authority to prosecute him arguing that he was “abducted” from the Zambian government where he sought asylum under unconstitutional means.

Prosecutor Gerald Uladi said the State had acted legally because there was a warrant of arrest authorising Biti’s arrest.

He said Biti was arrested on Zimbabwean soil by local police officers, disputing any violations of international law.

Comments (2)

If the law were fair, Biti won the case outright. The state has flouted its in laws.

Chikowore - 18 August 2018

Very interesting developments happening in the post election period. Mr Biti in this one appears to want to win the case on technicalities whilst his party is against use of technicalities in the Apex Court in the election results challenge case?

Zimbabwean - 18 August 2018

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