BRIEFLY ARRESTED AT BORDER THEN RELEASED – REPORTS
He held a Press conference last Tuesday – before the final presidential results were announced – claiming victory for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
And when the results did not go in favour of the MDC, with Emmerson Mnagangwa a former ally of ousted Robert Mugabe narrowly retaining power with a 50.8 percent of the vote, its supporters took to the streets the following day triggering a brutal response from the military which opened fire on the demonstrators leaving six people dead.
Tendai Biti, a senior member of the MDC Alliance immediately became a wanted man with the police accusing him and eight others of fermenting violence.
He is a former finance minister during the 2009 – 2013.
Biti had at the Press conference held at the MDC House in Harare also alleged electoral fraud saying their candidate Nelson Chamisa was the victor.
Unconfirmed reports said he’s been in hiding since.
Breaking news coming from Zimbabwe on Wednesday say he was arrested at the Zambian border where he was fleeing to try to seek asylum, according to his lawyers.
But later in the day new reports surfaced saying Biti was briefly detained at the Chirundu Border post but later released after being questioned by the Zambian police and reportedly allowed to proceed to Lusaka for an asylum hearing.
State-owned newspaper The Herald reports that police sources said Biti was apprehended following a tip-off that he was presenting himself to the Zambian immigration officials.
The paper reports that it is suspected that Biti took advantage of the one-stop border post concept at Chirundu to flee the country.
Under the one-stop border post scheme launched in 2009, travellers from Zimbabwe and Zambia are cleared just once when travelling to either side of the border. This is in contrast with the previous situation where travellers had to be cleared on both sides of the border.
There was no immediate police confirmation of Biti’s arrest, but the police had earlier announced he was wanted for “participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence”.
At the time of publishing it was not clear if the eight others were also arrested.
As things stand, the inauguration of Emmerson Mnagangwa as the new president of Zimbabwe is likely to be postponed indefinitely if the MDC continues with its challenge to the poll outcomes which it claims was due to fraud.
The MDC has until this Friday to lodge their legal case and the outcome from the Constitutional Court is expected within two weeks or 14 days.
Under Zimbabwean law, the deadline for filing the challenge is Friday.
The Constitutional Court must rule on the petition within 14 days.
The elections were largely peaceful with the European Union mission observers noting that there was an “improved political climate, inclusive participation rights and a peaceful vote”. However, the observers also found that “an unlevel playing field, intimidation of voters, and lack of trust in the process undermined the pre-election environment”.