Biti trial kicks off

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endai Biti was on Monday found guilty of contravening the electoral laws after he allegedly prematurely announced election results of the hotly contested July 2018 elections

The trial for MDC-Alliance principal Tendai Biti started at the Harare magistrate court on Tuesday after futile attempts by the politician to have the court recuse itself.
Biti through his lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa and Aleck Muchadehama made a cocktail of applications ranging from exception of charges, reversal of the improper splitting of charges and the latest being for the magistrate, Gloria Takundwa to recuse herself.
“The court is nolonger looking at the facts objectively and it is in the best interest of justice for it to recuse itself in the matter and let another judicial officer take over,” they said.
The State led by Tafadzwa Mupariwa responded that Biti’s application was invalid as he was only disgruntled because his applications had been dismissed.
The court has long reversed its ruling to have the media livestream proceedings in the matter.
The trial kicked off with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission official, Silaygwana Utiole testifying against Biti.
Biti was arrested at the Zambian border post after he tried to cross into the neighbouring country seeking asylum claiming he was running away from persecution by the State security.
Biti told the court that his mother, brother and nephew were harassed by unidentified men who went to his mother’s house looking for him. He claimed that gunshots were fired at his brother when he was on his way to Bindura in the company of his minor children.
Biti said on August 2, there was an attempt on his life by unidentified people driving unmarked vehicles.
He is out on $5 000 bail which was granted by Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo.
Biti is also facing charges of contravening Section 66A(1) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13, which prohibits the unofficial or false declaration of election results.
He is alleged to have unlawfully declared opposition party leader Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the presidential elections on July 30.
The Zimbabwean law states that only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson is empowered to declare the winner of an election.
Tafadzwa Mupariwa is appearing on behalf of the State.