One of the partners of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance Tendai Biti has been denied asylum in Zambia and is briefly being held pending his return to Zimbabwean authorities.
Zambian authorities said he was attempting to seek asylum in Zambia but the grounds under which he wanted to seek asylum were not meritorious.
“So basically he has not been arrested, all we are doing is keeping him in safe custody and waiting for the Zimbabwean authority to help him get back to Harare. The grounds do not merit asylum. He is not in danger. He is only going to answer charges to legitimate courts of law,” Zambian authorities said.
According to the Zimbabwean police there was drama at the Chirundu border post when members of the Criminal Investigations Department tried to arrest Biti who was already on Zambian soil.
“The accused person and his associates were approached and he strongly resisted arrest arguing that he was protected by International law since he had already crossed the Zambezi River and was in the process of applying for Asylum,” police said in a statement.
“He went further to state that police officers had no right to interview him on foreign soil hence all the accused persons refused to furnish their full particulars.
“At the same time, Tendai Luxton Biti shouted on top of his voice saying he was being abducted and called for assistance from Zimbabwean travellers going to Zambia numbering approximately 300 people.
“Members of the public joined in and refrained security agents as they were effecting arrest on the accused person and his associates.
“Since there was commotion, Zambia authorities joined in and assisted Zimbabwe authorities and took the accused person and his associates to Immigration offices, Zambia.”
Police said Zambian state agents then had an interview with Biti and his associates. They ordered the Zimbabwe security agents not to enter their office.
“After some time, the Zambian authorities being led by number 10961 Detective Inspector Mwaba who is the Officer-In-Charge CID Chirundu Zambia without considering the Chirundu One Stop Border Post Concept then threatened Zimbabwe authorities with arrest for executing their mandate on Zambian soil,” police said.
“The Zambian authorities then refused to hand over the accused persons citing that they wanted to consult with the superiors in Lusaka, Zambia since the accused person had indicated that they were running away from political persecution.
“They also refused to have an urgent D-JOC meeting with Zimbabwe authorities.
“A team of Zambia Para Military Troop armed with AK 47 Rifles came to the border and escorted the accused person, his associates and the Toyota Hilux vehicle which had not been tendered for clearance by Zambia Police Service, Chirundu.”
The Zambian government denied Biti and his associates political asylum.