'Biti acted illegally'

'Biti acted illegally'
Published: 18 August 2018 (165 Views)
HARARE East National Assembly member elect Tendai Biti acted illegally by announcing presidential election results, the Investigating Officer in the matter in which the politician is accused of breaching a section of the Electoral Act maintained yesterday.

Chief Superintendent Jealous Nyabasa made the remarks while being cross-examined by the accused's lead lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, who was accompanied by Alec Muchadehama and Harrison Nkomo.

Mtetwa asked the IO, who has been working on Biti's case for the CID Law and Order Section for two weeks now, where he was premising his argument that the accused broke the law as he was a "novice" in the new section.

Chief-Sup Nyabasa dismissed Mtetwa's insinuation saying the Zimbabwe Republic Police has standardised procedures that work across all sections.

The lead lawyer asked Chief-Sup Nyabasa to read Section 66 (A) (3) of the Electoral Act which authorises publication of information based on V11 forms posted outside polling stations, which the witness agreed with that it made the information public.

"My knowledge of the Electoral Act I obtained it through reading and above everything I disagree however that when the accused made his election results announcement, he was making reference to Presidential election results not on polling station based returns by agents.

"I accept the V11 forms are posted outside polling stations by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and once posted, they become public information," said the witness.

Asked Mtetwa: "Is it possible for someone to announce election results that have no figures?"

Responded the witness: "Though there are no figures to dovetail announcement of the presidential results, the announcement by the accused was enough to see that an offence had been committed.

"The accused contravened the Electoral Act by announcing that Nelson Chamisa was the next President of Zimbabwe. The statement he made was being made on behalf of ZEC because implication was to announce election results.

"The accused made announcement of election results through video footage that went viral on international media, and to be exact, through YouTube, which was a contravention of the Electoral Act."

The matter is set to continue today before magistrate Francis Mapfumo for further cross-examination. Michael Reza and Jonathan Murombedzi are representing the State.

- hmetro

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