By Loice Dube
MDC Vice Chairperson and Human Rights lawyer Hon. Tendai Biti has been convicted on two counts of contravening the Electoral Act for his claim on July 31, that MDC leader Nelson Chamisa had won the 2018 Presidential polls. Magistrate Gloria said the state managed to prove that Biti is guilty without any reasonable doubt, she sentenced him to 7 days in jail or pay $200 fine and 6 months’ imprisonment which has been suspended for 5 years on the basis that he does not commit the same offence.
The state alleged that Hon Tendai Biti announced election results ahead of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission inciting violence that took place on 1 August 2018, which claimed lives of six people.
MDC Deputy National Spokesperson Hon Bekithemba Mpofu said, “Command injustice was today displayed when the court convicted and sentenced MDC Deputy National Chairperson Hon Tendai Biti for ‘announcing result’. This is despite the fact that the court itself confirmed that Hon. Tendai Biti had not referred specifically to any figures and that he had mentioned that he expected ZEC to make an official result which up to now has three sets of results.
“The military government is aware that the results announced by ZEC were not authentic, they are unreliable and untraceable. This is why the ZANU PF government is persecuting anyone who dares challenge the results”, he added.
ZANU PF activist, Tafadzwa Mugwadi posted on his Twitter account, “he (Tendai Biti) must be given a 3 year sentence with no option of a fine. Till the Americans and their allies say excuse, the sanctionist jecharists have no place in our society. #ChikurubiMaximumHotel loading….”
Biti was initially charged with contravening section 66(A)(1) of the Electoral Act which states that, “Unofficial or false declaration of results prohibited…subject to Sub-Section (3), any person who purports to announce the result of an election as the true or official results or purports to declare any candidate to have been duly elected before an electoral officer, acting in accordance with this Act has announced the result of that election or declared a candidate to have been duly elected in that election…as the case maybe, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both such a fine and imprisonment”