Prosper Dembedza and Tendai Rupapa
A journalist with a local radio station yesterday told a Harare magistrate that MDC-Alliance principal Tendai Biti unlawfully announced false results for the 2018 presidential election at a press conference at the opposition party’s headquarters in Harare.
Perfect Hlongwane, a journalist with ZiFM Stereo and a State witness in a case in which Biti is charged with violating the Electoral Act and inciting violence, told the court that he declared Nelson Chamisa winner of the polls.
Hlongwane said he attended the press conference during which Biti made the announcement.
The law only empowers the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)to announce election results.
Hlongwane said during the press briefing, Biti claimed the MDC Alliance had collated all the results and its presidential candidate, Chamisa, had won.
“During the press conference, I asked Biti a question on what they were going to do as a party if ZEC was to announce results contrary to what they had gathered and he said that was very much unlikely,” said Hlongwane.
Biti’s lawyer, Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, notified the court she intended to make an application for discharge at the close of the State case on Monday next week.
The prosecution indicated it will respond to the application on Wednesday.
Biti was remanded to February 4.
Meanwhile, MDC-Alliance activist Jim Kunaka was among key organisers of violence which rocked Harare and other cities last week which left a trail of destruction, a Harare magistrate has heard.
Kunaka allegedly used his Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp accounts to incite violence between January 14 and 16.
Kunaka appeared before magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo facing charges of subverting a constitutionally elected Government or alternatively inciting public violence.
He unsuccessfully challenged his placement on remand and was remanded in custody to January 31.
In his application, Kunaka argued that there was no reasonable suspicion warranting his placement on remand.
Prosecutor Mr Shepherd Makonde opposed the application.
He said facts presented to the court disclosed that Kunaka broke the law.
Mr Mapfumo concurred with the State and advised Kunaka to seek bail at the High Court.
Kunaka has a pending case of a similar nature before the same court after he took part in the August 1, 2018 demonstrations, which resulted in the death of six people and destruction of property.
He allegedly incited citizens to join hands with trade unions and pressure groups to shut down Zimbabwe.
Kunaka allegedly joined the violent protesters, urging them to overthrow Government.
The prosecution alleged that Kunaka’s actions led to people dying, injured and property torched.