Zimbabwe: Biti's Trial Commences

MDC Alliance's Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti (file photo).
12 November 2018

The trial of opposition political party leader Tendai Biti will commence on Monday 12 November 2018 at the Harare Magistrates Court.

Biti will stand trial on allegations of contravening the Electoral Act. He is accused of unlawfully and unofficially announcing the 30 July 2018 presidential election results. Biti, the Vice-Chairperson of the MDC-Alliance party was arrested on 8 August 2018 after being returned from Zambia under unclear circumstances.

He was initially charged with contravening section 66(A)(1) of the Electoral Act for allegedly announcing the results of the presidential elections held in July 2018, as well as contravening section 36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Biti is represented by Beatrice Mtetwa and Alec Muchadehama, who are members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Biti will stand trial on allegations of violating section 66A(1)(a) - unofficial or false declaration of results prohibited, as well as section 66A(1)(b) - unofficial or false declaration of results prohibited.

Prosecutors allege that Biti, who is currently out of custody on bail, unlawfully and unofficially purportedly announced or purportedly declared that the MDC-Alliance party had won the harmonised elections held on 30 July 2018 when in actual fact the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials, who are mandated to make the declaration had not yet declared the official results or winner, in contravention of the Electoral Act.

The prosecutor has lined up six witnesses, who are scheduled to testify against Biti during the trial. The State has notified Biti's lawyers that it will tender the transcript of Biti's address at a press conference convened by MDC-Alliance party on Tuesday 31 July 2018 at Morgan Tsvangirai House.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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