Biti denied his passport to seek counselling services in South Africa

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By Mary Taruvinga

MDC top official Tendai Biti’s bid to temporarily recover his passport he surrendered to court authorities as part of his bail conditions hit a brick wall Thursday when a Harare magistrate threw down his application.

The MDC deputy national chair is in the dock for allegedly contravening sections of the Electoral Act through public claims MDC leader Nelson Chamisa had won the 2018 presidential election.

He had requested for temporary release of his passport until October 23 so he could go for counselling at a South African health centre which invited him for post-traumatic therapy services.

Biti said the dramatic events that accompanied his escape bid to Zambia left him traumatised.

He had also begged the court to allow him to go to Tunisia for a lawyers conference due to take place end of this month.

However, Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo ruled that circumstances surrounding his foiled escape bid to Zambia to seek asylum soon after the July 2018 elections were enough indication he could escape his court’s jurisdiction if given a chance to leave the country.

“It’s barely two months after the accused’s arrest and he is already seeking release of his passport back. This court is of the view that it is a risky decision. As such, the court will value its set bail conditions.

“The accused allegedly immensely caused disturbances in the country, hence he tried to escape to Zambia.

“The reason why the court ordered that he surrenders his passport was to make sure that he attends court and the application is therefore dismissed.”

Biti is also accused of inciting public violence through urging party supporters to demand immediate release of results and to go into the streets and demonstrate.

He is however denying the charges.

In August, he tried to flee to Zambia when police were hunting him over the alleged offences.

Zambian authorities who refused to grant him asylum later handed him back to Zimbabwean police who have hauled him before the courts.

The firebrand Harare lawyer claims that he was abducted from Zambian authorities by Zimbabwean soldiers who also terrorised his lawyer on the way back home.

Biti challenged his arrest to no avail.

He had argued that local courts had no right to prosecute him adding that he was unlawfully taken after a court order for him to appear before a Zambian court to present his case was issued.

Biti is being represented by Harrison Nkomo who is being assisted by a handful more lawyers.