Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Lawyer preparing court application to block Tendai Biti deportation by Zambia

A Zambian lawyer was on Wednesday said to be preparing an urgent High Court application to block attempts by the Zambian government to deport opposition leader Tendai Biti back to Zimbabwe.

In this file photo taken on June 01, 2018 MDC Alliance Spokesperson Tendai Biti speaks during a press conference during which he announced that Zimbabwe's opposition parties are calling for electoral reforms ahead of the July 30 general elections and that there will be street demonstrations in the capital Harare on June 5. (AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA)
In this file photo taken on June 01, 2018 MDC Alliance Spokesperson Tendai Biti speaks during a press conference during which he announced that Zimbabwe’s opposition parties are calling for electoral reforms ahead of the July 30 general elections and that there will be street demonstrations in the capital Harare on June 5. (AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA)

Former Education Minister and MDC Alliance senior official David Coltart gave the update on his Twitter account telling his 161 000 followers that: 

“Just spoken to Zambian lawyer Gilbert Phiri who is preparing an urgent application to the High Court in Lusaka tonight for an interdict to stay any decision to return Tendai Biti to Zimbabwe. Strength to your arm sir!”

An alleged Zambian police report circulating on social media states that Zimbabwean officials tried to detain Mr Biti after he had crossed into Zambia.

The opposition politician shouted out for help and about 300 Zimbabwean travellers blocked their government’s security officers from making an arrest, the report says.

Zambian officials then intervened and threatened to arrest the Zimbabwean officers for “executing their mandate on Zambian soil”.

Zambia’s foreign minister told the BBC that Mr Biti’s grounds for asylum were “not meritorious”.

MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa said “The persecution of leaders Tendai Biti, Komichi, Chidziva & other party officials by the state is unjustified and unacceptable.

“I raised this matter with President Cyril Ramaphosa whom we count on to persuade the perpetrators to halt this unmerited persecution. The weak terrorize!” Chamisa wrote.

There was great optimism that July’s election would bring real change after the end of Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule last November.

But last week six people were killed after the military intervened to curb opposition protests in the capital, Harare.

Correspondents say there is a climate of fear in Zimbabwe, with some members of the opposition going into hiding. Nehanda Radio/BBC