16 August 2018
THE Investigating Officer (IO) in the matter in which MDC-Alliance principal Tendai Biti is challenging his court appearance in Zimbabwe instead of Zambia yesterday said he felt let down by the accused’s lawyers who made promises they failed to keep.
Biti, through his lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa and Harrison Nkomo, is challenging his appearance before Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo arguing the court had no jurisdiction to prosecute him because he was arrested on Zambian soil.
In his evidence in chief, Chief Superintendent Jealous Nyabasa said between August 5 and August 7, the CID Law and Order section summoned Biti to their offices to enquire on alleged Contravention of Section 66 A (1) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13.
Biti is also facing charges of inciting public violence.
Chief-Supt Nyabasa said the lawyers who represented Biti between August 5 and August 7 came to the CID offices thrice and they committed to bringing their client to further understand the matter.
“I looked forward that the lawyers would come with their client and when they didn’t, I felt let down because I did not expect such conduct from legal practitioners.
“The accused’s lawyers came three times and promised us that they would bring their client to the police but they did not. The lawyers are Alec Muchadehama, Jeremiah Bamhu and Harrison Nkomo,” said Chief-Supt Nyabasa.
The IO further highlighted there was no need for the accused to send his lawyers because they were not the ones who had been summoned.
He continued: “The accused did not heed notice to come to the police that law enforcement agents wanted to speak with him. He was aware that he was wanted by police because between August 5 and August 7 only his lawyers came.
“It is unacceptable for the accused who has been summoned by police to send his lawyer because the lawyer won’t be able to answer the questions meant for the one summoned.
“When I arrested the accused in Chirundu, I then told him of his rights, warned and cautioned him, he signed the papers and I also did the prudent thing of switching off his mobile phone after he had told me he was receiving life threatening messages sent by a Zambian registered number.”
In his testimony, Chief-Supt Nyabasa also said he is only aware of what transpired on the Zimbabwean side and never spoke to Immigration Officials from Zambia but just received a Deportation Certificate against Biti from them through their Zimbabwean counterparts.
He also said there was no legal provision that allowed people who are not employed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce election results without the commission’s authority.
“It is impossible for someone to announce election results using V11 forms because they are polling station based and not nationally based. Only ZEC has the mandate to announce election results and nowhere in the constitution is it written that ZEC can delegate the responsibility to someone who is not its member,” said Chief-Supt Nyabasa.
The matter was rolled to today for continuation.
The State was represented Michael Reza and Jonathan Murombedzi.