A HARARE magistrate yesterday dismissed an application by MDC Alliance co-principal Tendai Biti, challenging the jurisdiction of the court after he was allegedly abducted from Zambia by Zimbabwean authorities while fleeing the country for safety reasons.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo ruled that the police acted within the laws of the country and did not violate any international law since Biti was surrendered to them by immigration authorities.
Mapfumo said it was not in dispute that Biti pronounced the election results, saying MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa was the winner, thereby violating the electoral laws.
“Even though the accused alleged his life was in danger, he did not provide the court with any evidence that his life was in danger. It is the court’s view that violation of international law cannot be blamed on the receiving State. There is no basis to permanently stay the proceedings and I, hereby, dismiss the application,” he said.
After the dismissal, Biti’s lawyer Alec Muchadehama then filed another application to have his client’s bail conditions scrapped.
He said the stringent conditions given to Biti were only to secure his presence during the court application challenging jurisdiction.
“I want the reporting conditions to be scrapped on the basis they really do not serve any purpose. Since August 9, my client has been religiously abiding by the bail conditions.
He is a legal practitioner and knows the consequences of absconding the court,” Muchadehama said.
Muchadehama also advised the court that he would petition the High Court to review Mapfumo’s judgment, saying it was a gross attack on Biti’s constitutional right.
He said if the court insisted on Biti’s reporting condition, he should do that just once a month.
However, the State opposed the application, saying Biti was a flight risk and the reporting conditions be only waived from three times per day to twice a week.
Mapfumo ruled that Biti must report at the CID Law and Order section once every Friday.