16 November 2018
The application made by MDC Alliance Member of Parliament for Harare East Tendai Biti for the recusal of a prosecutor appointed by the Prosecutor General was granted yesterday.
Biti, through his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, made the application on the basis that Michael Reza was partial hence was not fit to prosecute the matter as it would be prejudicial to her client.
In delivering her ruling, Harare regional magistrate Gloria Takundwa said indeed Reza was no longer impartial in the matter.
“Mtetwa applies for recusal of Reza’s prosecution basing on the opposing affidavit filed by Reza at the High Court.
“In response, Reza said he responded with political undertones because there was a political tone in Biti’s application.
“In that regard he was biased as he failed to meet the requirements of a public prosecutor stipulated in Section 260 which are to dedicate himself to the achievement of justice impartially with absolute fairness, to be a minister of truth and to state facts dispassionately.
“Even though he denied being partial, Reza however confirmed that he was political in his response contrary to his duties which require him to remain impartial so his behaviour has fallen short of the fairness expected from him.
“There is real possibility of bias if he continues as the head of prosecution on this matter,” said magistrate Gloria Takundwa in her ruling.
A new prosecutor is now representing the State in this matter.
Biti also made an application for temporary release of his passport that he had submitted as part of bail, in order to attend to parliament business.
His passport was temporarily released and the matter was remanded to 10 December for trial commencement.
Biti is being charged for contravening the Electoral Act after the July 30 harmonised elections.