Biti fled prosecution, not persecution

Biti fled prosecution, not persecution
Published: 09 August 2018 (269 Views)
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa and his Government went out of their way to deliver credible, free, fair and transparent harmonised elections in the hope that all contestants would be magnanimous enough to put the national interest above transient, partisan interests. We all saw the MDC-Alliance going around the country, even to previously no-go areas under the Mugabe days, with their campaign message.

By their own admission, the Alliance leaders held over 79 rallies without hindrance. Even when they wanted to march, however flimsy the grounds, police readily granted them permission. ZEC went out of its way too, at times at the risk of compromising its independence to involve all political parties and candidates as they prepared for the elections.

Government flung the doors open to local and international observers to come and witness our electoral democracy in action. People turned out in their millions to vote, and they voted to maintain the new dispensation.

Instead of respecting the people's voice, the MDC-Alliance refused to accept the results and in so doing has been working to undo all the work the Government painstakingly put in to ensure that Zimbabweans exercised their democratic rights freely.

The loquacious Tendai Biti of the fringe People's Democratic Party (PDP), an officer of the court, went on to flagrantly violate provisions of the Electoral Act by claiming that MDC-Alliance candidate Nelson Chamisa had won the presidential election.

And when ZEC announced the real results that had the incumbent President winning, the MDC-Alliance unleashed its militia, the so-called Vanguard to riot in Harare CBD robbing pedestrians, looting shops and torching cars, prompting the police - who were thin on the ground having deployed nationally for the polls - to invoke Section 37 (1) of the Public Order and Security Act Chapter 11.17 that provides for the secondment of members of the defence forces to work under the command of the Commissioner-General of Police.

It was unfortunate that six lives were lost as the police sought to restore order in the CBD and observers rightly placed the blame for the riots at the feet of the MDC-Alliance, principally Biti who had promised to make the country ungovernable in the event the alliance lost the elections.

In the wake of the riots and in light of Biti's wilful violation of the Electoral Act, police invited him to the Criminal Investigations Department to assist with investigations. But like the Biblical Jonah, Biti chose to go on the run and yesterday sneaked into Zambia in a bid to evade the law.

That in a nutshell is the story of Tendai Laxton Biti, a creature of habit who has been violating the Electoral Act without comebacks since 2008, but who does not have the guts to lie on the bed he makes. Biti is a mere fugitive from justice nothing more, nothing less. He is fleeing prosecution not persecution and has no grounds to claim asylum.

In the scheme of Zimbabwean politics, he is a midget in giant robes. His mouth is bigger than his profile. We hope when he lodges his application for asylum, the Zambian authorities will realise that on Biti they are bound by obligations under Interpol not UN Conventions on refugees.

We are encouraged by statements attributed to Zambia's foreign affairs minister Joe Malanji who was quoted by BBC as saying Biti's grounds for seeking asylum were not meritorious and he would be sent back to Zimbabwe. We wish some in the Western community who are quick to make pronouncements on the back of ignorance will desist from doing so as they only serve to encourage lawlessness. Zimbabwe is not a banana republic. It is a country with laws and institutions that should be respected. Biti should be sent back to face the music.

- The Herald

Tags: Biti, Fled, Zambia,
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