‘They wanted to abduct me’, Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Biti on fleeing to Zambia
- August 10, 2018
“They wanted to abduct me (on Wednesday), I was terrified.” Zimbabwe’s former finance minister and leading opposition figure Tendai Biti said this in court to lawyers and the media, alleging that the Zimbabwean officials manhandled him when he was applying for political asylum in Zambia.
Biti’s lawyer, Nqobizitha Mlilo confirmed the row at the border.
“We don’t know yet the basis of the detention, but he was applying for political asylum in Zambia,” Mlilo said earlier when Biti was briefly detained before being allowed to go.
The MDC Alliance said Zimbabwean officials had no basis to arrest Biti.
The court had charged the opposition politician with inciting public violence and declaring unofficial election results.
Biti appeared in court on Thursday followed his attempt to flee to Zambia. He was denied asylum and was handed over to the Zimbabwean security forces in defiance of a Zambian court order.
Police in Zimbabwe were looking for Biti and eight other opposition figures for allegedly fuelling violence following the July 30 vote in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa (ZANU-PF Party) was declared the winner amid opposition cries of foul play.
If found guilty, Biti faces up to 10 years in jail, a cash fine or both.
Soon after his release, he told reporters: “It’s been an ordeal, but we survive. We live to fight another day, I am glad to be home.”
Mnangagwa later said he had intervened for Biti’s release because “nothing is more important than unity and peace”.
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