Court rules that Biti has case to answer; ex-minister blasts government

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By Mary Taruvinga

HARARE magistrate Gloria Takundwa ruled Monday that MDC deputy national chairperson Tendai Biti has a case to answer and should be put to his defence.

Biti is charged with contravening the country’s electoral laws for allegedly announcing 2018 elections results and declaring MDC leader Nelson Chamisa the winner.

“The court is of the view that the State has managed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt and the accused should proceed to defence case,” said magistrate Takundwa.

“From court’s view the State has managed to establish its prima facie case against the accused and should therefore be put to his defence.

“Fuller reasons will be given in the main judgement.”

Biti did not testify in defence after his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told court that evidence before the court was enough.

“We stand guided by our earlier submissions, so the defence case is closed,” she said.

Prosecutor Tapiwanashe Mupariwa then went on to cross examine Biti who attacked the state and President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his responses.

He insisted that Chamisa won the election but denied declaring him the winner.

“I wasn’t announcing results I’m not ZEC,” said the former finance minister.

“I did not make a declaration, but a claim based on what ZEC had posted and there is nothing criminal about it. It’s my constitutional right to do so.

“What I did was to push ZEC to timeously announce results because we had our fears and a repetition of what happened in 2008 when results were announced five weeks after elections.

Even if we had given Zanu PF a vote in every constituency it would not have changed circumstances because MDC was in the lead already. But this is not a normal country.”

Biti said ZEC first announced the results by posting tallies outside polling stations.

“When ZEC post outside a constituency centre, it’s an official result. According to those results indeed president Nelson Chamisa won.

“I don’t know what Mnangagwa got to declare himself the President.

“We know of three different results. I don’t think anyone in the country knows what Mnangagwa or Chamisa actually got.”

He continued; “Even Egypt Dzinemunenzva was declaring himself the president by July 1; that’s what should happen under normal circumstances.

“But here in this country nobody takes you seriously if you are not ZEC.”

He said president Mnangagwa made same claims but has not been arrested.

I know he also illegally crossed the border in November 2017 but what we have in this country is selective prosecution.

“I’m worried about selective law in Zimbabwe. There are people raping women. There are people killing others but are walking free.”