UN, EU raise alarm

THE United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) have raised the red flag over the alleged illegal deportation, arrest and persecution of opposition MDC Alliance co-principal Tendai Biti and called on Zimbabwean authorities to guarantee his safety after his bid to get asylum in neighbouring Zambia collapsed.

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA/OBEY MANAYITI

Tendai Biti leaving the Harare Magistrates Court last night

Biti skipped the border to Zambia on Wednesday, but the Edgar Lungu-administration denied him asylum and handed him back to Harare yesterday morning, despite a court order barring his deportation.

The former Finance minister, who is facing two counts of unlawfully and unofficially announcing results of the July 30 harmonised elections and another one of public violence, was yesterday granted $5 000 bail by a Harare magistrate with stringent conditions. His lawyers indicated that they would challenge circumstances surrounding his arrest today.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed concern over the decision by Lusaka to hand over a politician who has expressed an intention to seek asylum to his country of origin.

“Refoulement of forcibly returning refugees and asylum-seekers to their country of origin is a serious violation of international refugee law. The UNHCR calls on Zambia to investigate this reported incident urgently,” the UNHCR statement read.

The EU delegation, heads of mission of EU member states present in Harare and the heads of mission of Australia, Canada, and the United States, in a joint statement yesterday also condemned the targeting of opposition politicians in a post-election crackdown.

“The heads of mission of the EU, Australia, Canada and the United States are deeply disturbed by continuing reports that opposition supporters are being targeted by members of the Zimbabwean security forces,” the statement read.

“The heads of mission urgently call on the government of Zimbabwe to guarantee the physical integrity and safety of Mr Biti, to ensure that his constitutional and human rights are respected, and that he will be treated in full accordance with the rule of law.”

The EU has not publicly endorsed Mnangagwa as the winner of the July 30 polls, and in its preliminary report, poked holes into Zimbabwe’s electoral system with a comprehensive report expected in due course.

The British embassy in Zimbabwe also said it was monitoring the developments closely and had been in touch with both Zimbabwe and Zambia to seek clear assurance on the safety of Biti and the full respect of his constitutional rights.


United States Senator Chris Coons said the Donald Trump administration would hold the Zimbabwean government responsible for the safety of Biti and other opposition members reportedly detained by the President Emmerson Mnangagwa administration after the July 30 polls.

Mnangagwa controversially won the presidential poll with 50,8% of the vote, while his close rival MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa got 44,3%, a result he is disputing and ready to challenge in court.

Coons, a Democrat and member of the US Senate foreign relations committee, in a statement condemned the crackdown on civilians by State security agents, saying such practice had no place in a democracy.

“I am watching the situation in Zimbabwe very closely, and I am concerned about reports of arbitrary arrests, detentions, and government-sponsored violence. These tactics have no place in a democracy, and the government must ensure they stop immediately,” he said.

“Any disagreements over last month’s election should be dealt with through fair and open investigations, hearings, and legal processes. I am particularly alarmed to hear that members of the MDC Alliance have been detained by government-backed security forces.”

Coons said the arrest of Biti was especially unnerving.

“The US Senate will hold the government of Zimbabwe responsible for ensuring Biti and other detainees are not harmed in any way. I also call upon the Trump administration, the US State Department, the governments of Zimbabwe, Zambia and other regional actors to stand against politically-motivated arrests and to support and promote the rule of law,” he said.

Coons implored the Zimbabwean government to restore order in the country, arguing the people had suffered for a long time through acts of repression and Mnangagwa’s administration should signal a break from the past.

“It is not too late for the leaders of Zimbabwe to restore the sense of hope and fairness that its people deserve,” he said.

Meanwhile, in court yesterday, the State, led by Justin Uladi, did not oppose Biti’s bail and magistrate Francis Mapfumo ordered the former Finance minister to deposit
$5 000 at the Clerk of Court, deposit title deeds of one of his properties worth

$200 000, surrender his passport, report twice a day to the police, continue residing at his given address, not to interfere with witnesses and not to address political gatherings or Press conferences.

Biti was dramatically arrested on the Zambian side of the border where he intended to apply for political asylum on Wednesday.

After a scuffle with Zimbabwean authorities at Chirundu Border Post, he was allowed to proceed to Zambia, but the neighbouring country refused to grant him asylum and handed him back to Zimbabwean authorities.

He arrived at the court in an unmarked Toyota Quantum omnibus, seemingly relaxed and immediately told journalists that he was in high spirits.

In the first count, the court alleged that on July 31, Biti held a Press conference in Highlands where he unlawfully and unofficially declared Chamisa as the winner of the just-ended presidential race.

The State alleged that Biti usurped the role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), adding that they would use a video recording downloaded from YouTube to back their claim against the opposition politician.

On the second count, the State alleged that on August 1, Biti who was driving in the same vehicle with Jim Kunaka, a former Zanu PF youth leader, committed public violence when he addressed about 60 people armed with stones and sticks near Simon Vengai Muzenda bus terminus in the capital.

It is alleged that after Biti’s address, people went on the rampage and went on to destroy property at the Zanu PF provincial offices that included five vehicles and a bus.
The State further alleged that after Biti’s address, the crowd went on to burn Mnangagwa’s campaign posters.

In court yesterday, Biti’s defence lawyers led by Beatrice Mtetwa were of the view that their client was abducted by the State and that they had serious issues that include assessing whether the he was properly brought before the court and placed on remand.

The lawyers are preparing a bruising fight with the State over the manner Biti was arrested and brought to court.

“He was not brought here in terms of the country’s extradition laws, Sadc protocol on extradition and he was not brought before the court in terms of the law,” Mtetwa said.
Scores of lawyers, diplomats and opposition supporters were in attendance.

29 Comments

  1. And you are not concerned about politically motivated violence. Buildings destroyed, cars burnt. You should be worried about what triggered such acts of Hooligans . we know you looters , starting when did you care for africans ???

    1. @jukwa – when did ED and Chiwenga start caring for Zimbabweans? Be real!

  2. Farai Johnson Nhire

    The decision made by the Zambian government was proper since this was a foreign policy issue which properly belongs to the executive of Zambia not the dudiciary. Zimbabweans also need to learn a very important lesson that they cannot be used to commit acts of terror in their country and go to hide in neighbouring countries, that would be a very dangerous precedent. People like the Coons and the like minded need to know that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state with fully functional constitutional order and only intertain these Americans and others as observers and nothing more. President Mnangagwa must never let these people ignite a Syria situation in our motherland. Americans must learn to do justice for blacks in America first and we are sick and tired of their hypocrisy and double standards. We will also be glad to see the freedom of palestine.

    1. concernedcitizen

      that is why we are poor if you believe in an isolated zimbabwe. if allow them to observe they should be allowed to comment on what they observed, why does your memory so ppor . what you are saying is what mugabe saID AND WE BACAME POOR AS WE ARE.

    2. You are spot on my brother . We are sick and tired of these war mongers .

    3. rubbish

    4. your mind set is dangerous my brother .The mind of a detector that rejoices at seeing people languish in poverty in the name of sovereign.

    5. First agree that Biti’s issues are political. It therefore follows that he had the right to run for dear life following attempts on his person which are well documented. Can you also relate the same to ED when he ran away for dear life via Moza?

  3. IM SURPRISED THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT MENTIONING THAT JUSTICE SHOULD TAKE PLACE .THEY ALWAYS TAKE SIDES IN DEFENDING A PERSON WITHOUT REGARDING INNOCENCE OR CRIMINALITY. HOW CAN ZAMBIA AGREE TO BE A HIDING PLACE OF CRIMINAL SUSPECTS.

    THERE IS NOTHING BAD IN THESE GOVTS ACTIONS….CRIMINALS SHOULD BE PROSECUTED IN COURTS OF RELEVANT LAWS.

    1. SO gukurahundi criminals must also face justice

    2. Here comes the voice of the shallow-minded fool who is not well versed on international laws. Selective application of the law by Zanoids. Ndizvo zvekuti your EDiot was a border jumper running away from the Goblin hitmen, Katsukuqueer and Biti do exactly the same and the same EDiot treats them as border jumpers and sets his dogs on them. Shame on you guys

  4. i agree with you my only reservation is on not letting the zambian high court have its turn. that on its own creates a mafia/jungle scenario. of course the high court was likely going to through it out then he gets extradited back. now it appears as if something is not right because everyone in zambia and zimbabwe knew where he was why not wait for processes to finish in the foreign country and then you deal with your person. mhosva haiwori

  5. Biti did not need to run. Don’t blame the Zambians. I am inclined to agree with Hodzi that his move is tantamount to political posturing. In the first the law is clear that no one but ZEC is mandated to announce election results. If Biti did so then he breached the law. That is not to say that law is right. But it is the law. If it is problematic people can lobby for its modification. As for inciting violence, let the matter be examined. If he has a case to answer then the law must take its course. If he innocent he will be set free.

    1. The V11 results posted on Polling Stations are the final votes which are added to give the total votes accumulated by each candidate.The movement of V11 forms through Constituency, Provincial and ZEC command centre does not change anything from the original V11 at the Polling Station. So why should it be a crime to publish that which is already public? ZEC definitely wanted to alter figures on V11 forms (which they did but not cleverly).

  6. kid marongorongo

    the EU does not have any other flag except a red one specifically made for Zimbabwe. This organisation has a task to dismantle Zimbabwean unity they are always against Zimbabwe no matter what good you do they wont appreciate, Mugabe knows them very well and only for that i give him much credit.

    1. they are against our leadership not Zimbabwe.In zimbabwe we lack a leadership that respects human rights ,that is the issue period .

      1. Include the MDC leadership in that

      2. so only them are the ones who knows how to respect human rights? are they the saints on this issue in their respective countries ? i agree with with kid marongorongo here. european union have nothing good to talk about in zim politics … and i can see the only time that you will see them saying or praising zim is when the oppposition wins the election.. besides that ummmmm,

  7. Farai Johnson Nhire

    The Zambian high court has no right to decide on a purely foreign issue. The mater is between Tendai and the zimbabwean laws in the zimbabwean constitution which he broke and that is why the zambian authorities rightly blocked him and sent him back home. If anything, Zambia must carry out thorough investigations to see that there are no terror training activities going on in remote parts of their country without their knowledge! The rest of the nations boardering Zimbabwe need to carry out similar investigations. There is a very big possibility of Eu and The Us planning terrorist activities in the region aimed at distabilising Zimbabwe. You can tell by how they are now speaking and behaving that there is something they are hiding from Zimbabwean authorities.

    1. Zimbabwean people I surely do not know what you want ? It looks like you do not want democracy anymore !

  8. Comment…muchamama muchitengesa mari muroad,nyika isina direction.

  9. Please we are not part of EU and we not a colony ye BRItain or USA

  10. Tendai Biti has always been an attention-seeking buffoon.

  11. We have heard you but all that put together will not equate loss of human life. The soldiers replied with death. Let not look at who supports who here. That does not warrant death penalty. Ngatityei Mwari musada politics zvekusagona kuisa value pahupenyu hwevanhu. You said MDC Alliance and you answer by guns. Two wrongs will not make a right

    1. Ummmmm this page has a lot of poisonous CIOs. Lets be very careful because Zanu has hijacked this page just look the way they are supporting everything bad done by this government and Zec.

  12. sorry pane vakafa vachizvifambira ..wese akafa achidemostrator akamama don’t demonstrate in illegal demonstrations they are outside the law. and those who incited must be dealt with severely. Now Chamisa is going to ConCourt which is what he should have still waited for than to incite and coz death of people ..we regret the death Of “innocent” those that were shot participating in an illegal demo are not innocent and deserved to die tough luck

  13. Next is Biti destroying the so called Alliance from within, brace for another mdc split.

    1. guys mese mopenga only looking at one side do you have to kill pple so that u can be heard

  14. If you not happy about the act u must demostrate 2 make some know about this is not free and fair

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