Biti court challenge thrown out

Lawyer Tendai Biti, former finance minister, speaks to journalists outside Zimbabwe's High Court in the capital Harare. File photo: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo.
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MDC Alliance member, Tendai Biti has unsuccessfully applied for recusal of Magistrate Gloria Takundwa from presiding over his case in which he is facing charges of contravening the Electoral Act after he made a false declaration on the presidential elections.

Magistrate Takundwa has dismissed Biti’s application, in which he, through his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, alleged that the trial would not be fair, arguing that the issuance of a warranty of arrest by the magistrate after Biti did not turn up for his trial was malicious.

The state represented by Mr Jonathan Murombezi argued that Biti was in willful default and the magistrate followed the legal route by issuing a warranty of arrest.

He said the court should not allow accused persons to dictate what they want in court, adding that the application by Biti was a delaying tactic as the defence is not ready for trial.

This is not the first time that Biti has challenged the court officials; first he challenged the Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza accusing him of being political and he recused himself.

A magistrate, Mr Francis Mapfumo was accused of bias and being unreasonable after he made a ruling that Biti was properly before a Zimbabwean court.

Charges against Biti arose after he held a media briefing and allegedly declared that the MDC Alliance had won the elections, yet it was Zanu PF which had won.

Biti’s action was in violation of the Electoral Act chapter 2.13.

Also at the Harare magistrate court were trials of the 61 accused persons who were arrested in Epworth for public violence.

The court went through the defence outline of the accused persons and most of them denied participation in the violence.

Two more accused persons who allegedly participated in the violence at Kamunhu shopping centre in Mabvuku were brought before the court.

Shadreck Asani and Daniel Shingirai are allegedly part of the mob that looted Choppies shop at Mabvuku, threatened commuter operators not to carry people to work and barricaded the road using stones and burning tyres.