Zimbabwe: Cornered Biti Plays Political Card

The assault case of Tendai Biti continued yesterday at Harare Magistrates Court with him blaming Zanu PF Politiburo member Cde Patrick Chinamasa for causing his arrest.

Biti is facing charges of assaulting a Zimbabwean investor Mrs Tatiana Aleshina at the Magistrates Court in 2020. In his reasons why he wants his matter reffered to the apex court, Biti told the court that Cde Chinamasa and Zanu PF were to blame for his arrest.

He accused Cde Chinamasa of holding a press conference which led to his arrest.

Biti went on to blame this publication and Cde Nick Mangwana for giving the nation a wrong narration of his asaault case.

During the last court session, Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Muchuchuti ruled that Biti must not submit evidence that is irrelevant in his application for referral of his assault case to the Constitutional Court.

Biti through his lawyer submitted that his rights were infringed from the day he was arrested. In the previous sitting, senior prosecutor, Mr Michael Reza had told the court that Biti’s reasons for the application had absolutely nothing to do with the assault case.

In his application, Biti mentions certain Zanu PF members which the court ruled as irrelevant.

Mrs Guwuriro ruled that it is now a Constitutional Court requirement that an applicant must submit oral evidence on what Constitutional rights he claims were infringed.

She said a court cannot stop the accused from submitting these.

“Since the lower courts do not have the power to set time frames within which an accused must make his submissions, and only superior courts have that right, the State also applied that the accused be given limited time to make his submissions,” said Mrs Guwuriro.

The court concurred with the State that the accused must not submit evidence that is irrelevant. “The court will therefore be guiding the accused whenever he submits evidence that is irrelevant,” Mrs Guwuriro ruled.

During the previous sitting Mr Reza told the court that Biti was trying to bring in politics and political names in an assault case, which is irrelevant.

Mr Reza argued that based on the above, there is absolutely no reason for referral of this matter to the Apex court.

“This is a purely criminal case but the accused wants to bring in politics where it doesn’t fit,” Mr Reza said as he underscored that the court is not a political field.

After Biti’s lawyer, Mr Alec Muchadehama’s application for a postponement Mr Reza told the court that if it keeps on entertaining Biti’s applications for postponements his trial will never be heard during our lifetime.

“A time has to come when the court must put its foot down and say enough is enough”, Mr Reza said, as he brought to the attention of the court that every single application that the accused person is entitled to has been made to this court, and numerous applications for postponements have been granted at the instigation of the defence, and this is the time for this court to order the commencement of this trial otherwise it will not kick off during our lifetime.

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