UPDATED: Zambia denies Biti asylum. . . MDC-A principal’s bid to evade justice flops

Mr Tendai Biti

Mr Tendai Biti

Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
MDC-Alliance principal Mr Tendai Biti’s bid to run away from justice fell through yesterday after the Zambian government denied him asylum, saying his grounds were not worth the relief he sought, and that he should return to Harare and answer to allegations in a legitimate court of law.

Mr Biti is being sought by the police over a number of allegations, including inciting violence that rocked Harare after voting in the harmonised elections last week and his illegal declaration of MDC-Alliance presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa as the winner.

Only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is mandated by the constitution to declare a winner of an election.

Mr Biti yesterday tried to evade the police by heading to Zambia, but was taken in by the Zambian authorities while trying to cross into that country at Chirundu Border Post.

In an interview with  our Harare Bureau last night, Zambia’s Foreign Minister Joseph Malanji said Mr Biti had come to that country to seek asylum, but his grounds were not meritorious.

He said Zimbabwe’s political situation was stable and there was no reason for Mr Biti to try to seek refuge in that country citing political instability.

“He came here trying to seek asylum, but the grounds on which he wanted to apply for asylum did not meet the requirement as required by the law,” he said.

Minister Malanji said if Mr Biti was facing any charges in Zimbabwe he had to attend to them in a legitimate court of law.

“What we have done to Mr Biti is to give him safe custody before he heads back to Harare,” he said. “We are simply making sure Mr Biti has a safe passage back to Harare.”

Asked when Mr Biti would be coming back to Harare, Minister Malanji said: “It is not up to us to tell when he’s going back.”

By late last night, immigration sources confirmed Mr Biti had arrived at the Zambian side of the Chirundu One-Stop Border Post, while his lawyers were preparing to file an urgent High Court application to stop him from being sent back to Harare.

The MDC Alliance has rejected results of last week’s harmonised elections and on Wednesday last week incited their supporters to unleash violence in a bid to make the country ungovernable.

The party said it is preparing to approach the Constitutional Court to contest the presidential election results. Last week, Mr Biti declared that Mr Nelson Chamisa had won the presidential elections before the electoral body officially announced the winner.

He is at the centre of the Wednesday violent demonstrations that rocked Harare.

Police are looking for Mr Biti and the party’s organising secretary Mr Morgen Komichi to interview them in connection with the violent protests.

Six people were killled, several others were injured and property worth several thousands of dollars was destroyed when MDC-Alliance supporters went on a rampage.

They burnt vehicles, stoned shops, blocked roads and attacked people going about their business in Harare’s Central Business District.

After the violence, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the MDC-Alliance should be held accountable for the violence.

He said the party leadership should be held responsible for the loss of lives and damage to property.

Mr Biti’s conduct of inciting violence through issuing inflammatory and reckless statements has been roundly condemned in the country and the region.

A report recently released by the Zimbabwe Peace Project ranked MDC Alliance as the most violent party for the month of June after it recorded 16 cases of intra-party violence.

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  • Mkhokheli

    At least our porous borders are saving people’s lives. Last year ED escaped death by a whisker when Grace was breathing blood on his neck. Only 8 months later someone escap the same fate from the survivor. Someone once said ZANU PF is a party of imbeciles. Inhlanya true!

    • Truthhurts!

      You are right…but as a true Zanoid I say we are running the sellouts out of the country! We are cleansing our country of vermin, deplorables and political sellouts! Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwawo, and now Tendayi Biti…idiots who thought of themselves as if they were the ‘be all and end all’ of Zimbabwe’s fortunes…in other words, morons who had arrogated themselves ‘God-status’. The ‘new dispensation’ will run you out of town…oh yeah! we will!

      • selibona nya bakithi!

        everything that flies has to land!kuzophela buza uMgabe usehlathini manje people will look one day and say ‘Is this the man who made all Zimbabweans so much sorrow?’

  • Libertyatliberty

    ####Njabulo.libertyatliberty at gmail dot com.Zambia was not supposed to deny Biti asylum.Zambia must be questioned by UNHCR for that unlawful action.Zambia breached the Geneva Convention of 1951(law established for refugees/asylum seekers).There is a fundamental principle of that Convention ,which countries must abide by ,it is called the ‘principle of non-refoulement ‘(not to return refugees to their country).Anybody who is being persecuted in their country ,must not be returned to that particular country ,if they claim asylum ,in that state.For this reason,Biti was not supposed to be returned to Zimbabwe where he is being persecuted or where his life is in danger or his human rights are being violeted.It is against the law, what Zambia did.Therefore Zambia needs to be punished by UNHCR ,which is the custodian of that international law .Refugees must be protected by all countries.####

  • selibona nya bakithi!

    the level of reporting on this paper has gone to the dogs!your last paragraph sums up the whole level of journalism of your paper. MDC is the most violent party for the month why didn’t we get the same statistics in the past 38 years on which party has killed and tortured most people?you are all imbeciles in that building including your cleaners!

  • The Observer

    Generally, were the elections fair, free and credible in terms of the Electoral Act? Can we safely say the v11s and the postal votes were done within the electoral framework? Are we really objective in our arguments without ulterior motives?

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  • Ndaba

    Asylum has nothing to do with how safe the country is the minister is wrong. Asylum is granted based on either that you are unable or unwilling to return to your home country because you have been persecuted there in the past or have a well-founded fear that you will be persecuted if you go back.

    The reason you have been (or will be) persecuted is connected to one of five things: your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or your political opinion.

    This the reason Snowden an American was granted asylum in Russia.

    • zibulo

      and also why Mnangagwa was also accorded asylum status in RSA ,for being persecuted just like his Govt is doing to Biti . whats sauce for the goose….is not sauce for the gender in Zim !!

  • zibulo

    In the Elections protest in Zimbabwe, 6 unarmed protesters were gunned downed unneccessarily by their own ZNA in daylight ,in the presence of the International Observers, who we saw even running along the ZNA members filming all the horrific action of butchering protesters . They were not killed by MDC protesters, they were butchered by their own ARMY,whose presence in the streets was questioned and only answers to the effect that ZNA and ZRP are at a Cold War with each other . The army is now “the police” , what they did when they were in charge during Gugurahundi is being repeated in Harare . This is what we lived through then . WHO ISSUED THE COMMAND TO FIRE LIVE AMMUNITION ????? COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY PLEASE . May the Butcher be known and charged with murder, including that ZNA detail who had to kneel to take GOOD AIM at unarmed civillians as if firing at or returning enemy fire !!!. What they call ZRP Transformation is re-wording that Zim is now Soldier country .COLD WAR in force. More to come in coming days . blood will flow