Panashe Machakaire Herald Reporter
MDC-Alliance principal Tendai Biti, who is facing charges of inciting the violent post-election demonstration in Harare on August 1 last year, yesterday had his application for discharge thrown out.
In dismissing the application, magistrate Ms Gloria Takundwa ruled that Biti had a case to answer and should be put to his defence.
She said the State, led by Mr Tafadzwanashe Mupariwa, had managed to prove a prima facie case against him.
After hearing submissions from both parties, Ms Takundwa concurred with the State and dismissed Biti’s application.
Biti, through his lawyer, had made the application for discharge at the close of the State case.
During cross-examination, Mr Mupariwa accused Biti of contravening Section 66A (1) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13), which prohibits the unofficial or false declaration of election results.
“Do you agree that on July 31 you made a statement declaring a certain candidate to have won presidential elections?” Mr Mupariwa asked Biti.
“Are you aware of the fact that at the time you made the statement, ZEC had not finished making announcements of the results?”
In his response, Biti denied the allegations.
“I did not purport to make any announcement,” he said. “The essence was to compel ZEC to announce the results. I was not ZEC or impersonating ZEC.
“The transcript is not accurate. It is not fair for the State to choose what they want from the press conference.”
Mrs Beatrice Mtetwa, who is representing Biti, said she would file her written submissions before Friday, while the State will submit its own by Wednesday.
Ms Takundwa will deliver a ruling based on the written submissions on February 18.