By Tariro Machakaire and Shamiso Dzingire
Former Finance minister and senior opposition politician Tendai Biti has said his conviction on charges of unlawfully and falsely announcing the results of last year’s presidential election was a flagrant abuse of the court process.
Biti, vice chairperson of the main opposition MDC, was fined $200 after being hauled before the courts last year on charges of announcing that MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa had won the presidential election.
Biti, who fled the post-election military/police crackdown in Zimbabwe, was later deported by Zambian authorities after a failed asylum bid. He has vowed to continue “fighting tyranny and illegitimacy” in the country despite his conviction.
The Harare East member of Parliament was convicted by Harare magistrate Gloria Takundwa who fined him $200, or alternatively spend seven days in prison for the offence.
He paid the fine.
His lawyer Alec Muchadehama said they will be appealing on the grounds that the trial was full of contradictions in the manner in which it was handled.
Following his conviction, the Harare East legislator and lawyer said he was unfazed by the conviction, which could be ominous for him.
It remains to be seen if the Law Society of Zimbabwe will renew his practicing certificate after the conviction.
“I am innocent, absolutely innocent but the problem is the person leading the country is a very unstable predatory person in the name of Emmerson Mnangagwa. I am just a symptom of the bigger challenges affecting the country led by a very unstable person,” Biti said.
“Throughout history, autocrats have always abused the law to further the cause of power retention and aggrandisement,” Biti said.
“The conviction will not deter us. It will not break us. No bullet, bomb or prison will stop our resolve to end tyranny, illegitimacy and fascism in Zimbabwe.
“I think that it will be so critical for the leadership of our party, advocate Nelson Chamisa and for everyone else in the leadership, that we provide the necessary leadership to guard and protect our people …,” Biti said.
Chamisa also said Biti was one of the pillars of his movement who was “being targeted for telling the truth and was aware of targeting of lawyers, doctors for human rights and even with (Robert) Mugabe at his worst we never saw such attack on human rights.”
“This is why we have said there is a political problem where politics is contaminating the justice delivery system.
“We are continuing to challenge that and we are not shaken as a movement and are so committed to ensure that Zimbabwe is a democratic society.
“We are reasonably confident that Sadc will come to support the people of Zimbabwe.
“We are also going to knock at the doors of the United Nations and the international communities at large to make sure those issues are resolved,” he said.Biti blasts false poll results conviction. DailyNews