Nokutenda Chiyangwa Herald Reporter
MDC-Alliance principal Tendai Biti, who is facing charges of inciting violence, is expected to appear at the Harare magistrates court today for ruling on whether or not he is properly before the court. He wants the court to determine whether his appearance in court is proper given the circumstances of his case.
Through his lawyers – Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, Messrs Alec Muchadehama, Harrison Nkomo, Gift Mtisi and Denford Halimani — Biti challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear his matter, considering the circumstances surrounding his arrest and return to Zimbabwe from Zambia.
Biti, who was denied asylum by the Zambian Government after he tried to seek refuge in that country recently, also wants the court to determine whether or not the police complied with the law after he argued that he was unlawfully arrested in Zambia by unidentified Zimbabwean men.
In his evidence-in-chief led by Ms Mtetwa, Biti narrated to the court circumstances that “forced” him to cross the border, his arrest and appearance in court.
He said when he sought asylum in Zambia, he was not running away from the police.
Biti told the court that his mother, brother and nephew were harassed by unidentified men who went to his mother’s house looking for him.
He claimed that gunshots were fired at his brother when he was on his way to Bindura in the company of his minor children.
Biti said on August 2, there was an attempt on his life by unidentified people driving unmarked vehicles.
The prosecutor Mr Justin Uladi said the State would lead evidence to prove that Biti was arrested in Zimbabwe by police officers on the strength of a warrant of arrest.
He said Biti was properly before the court and as a Zimbabwean citizen, the court had jurisdiction over him.
The State also maintained that Biti was running away from his criminal charges and labelled him a fugitive.
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 presidential elections on July 30.
The law states that only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is empowered to declare the winner of an election.
Biti appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo and is out on $5 000 bail.
Mr Uladi is appearing for the State along with Mr Michael Reza, Ms Chipo Muronda and Mr Jonathan Murombedzi.