11 December 2018

Zimbabwe: Biti Applies for Exception to All Charges

MDC — Alliance principal Tendai Biti, who is facing charges of inciting violence in Harare post-election demonstration on August 1, yesterday made an application for exception to all charges on the basis that the Constitution gives him the right to declare the results.

Biti -- through his lawyers, Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, Messrs Alec Muchadehama and Jeremiah Bhamu -- made an application for exception while also challenging the jurisdiction of the court and requesting further particulars which they want to use if trial proceeds.

Ms Mtetwa said Biti had the right to declare the results according to section 66(3) and (4) of the Constitution which states that the public is entitled to report on votes as long as they are based on polling station returns.

She also said that they are challenging the court's jurisdiction because they still believe that Biti was unlawfully brought back into the country even though the courts have already ruled that was not the case.

Ms Mtetwa also stubbornly requested for the release of the V11 forms from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) saying that she wanted to use them as evidence in Biti's case even though the State has already made it clear that they are not necessary in the trial linked to Biti's charges.

In response the State said that it had been served with the defence's outline on short notice and needed time to prepare a response.

The matter was rolled over to today for ruling. Biti is also facing charges of contravening Section 66A (1) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13, which prohibits the unofficial or false declaration of election results.

He is alleged to have unlawfully declared opposition party leader Mr Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the July 30 presidential elections.

In terms of the country's electoral laws, only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is empowered to declare the winner of an election.

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