West speaks on Tendai Biti arrest

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By Chris Mahove

THE Heads Mission of the European Union, Australia, Canada and the United States of America have called on the Government of Zimbabwe to guarantee the “safety and physical integrity” of MDC Alliance co-principal, Tendai Biti following his arrest on inciting poll related violence Thursday.

Biti successfully crossed into Zambia Wednesday but was later deported by authorities in the neighbouring country who felt reasons behind his Zimbabwean escape did not met the granting of asylum.

He was handed over to police in Kariba early Thursday morning, only to appear before a Harare magistrate’s court some hours later charged with the offence.

He is also being accused of violating the country’s electoral laws through announcement of the July 30 presidential election in which he allegedly claimed MDC Alliance candidate Nelson Chamisa had romped to victory.

On Wednesday, Zambian authorities defied a court order issued by their own courts to have Zimbabwe’s former treasury boss plead his case the neighbour’s High Court.

But the Heads of Missions in Harare issued a joint statement saying they were disturbed by the continued targeting of opposition figures by the Zimbabwean security forces.

“The Heads of Missions note that the MDC Alliance principal and former Zimbabwe Minister of Finance Mr Tendai Biti is in the custody of the Zimbabwe Authorities after criminal charges were laid against him,” read part of the statement

“The Heads of Mission call on the Government of Zimbabwe to guarantee the physical integrity and safety of Mr Biti to ensure that the Constitutional Human Rights are respected and that he will be treated in full accordance with the rule of law,”

Biti was Thursday granted $5000 bail coupled with some strict reporting conditions.