Can Biti’s arrest scuttle the election challenge?


For a party that claimed to have overwhelming evidence on rigging well before full election results had been announced, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance is fast losing credibility as the suspense is too much.

The Alliance has until tomorrow to file its challenge with the Supreme to scuttle President-Elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration on Sunday.

One is tempted to agree with Derek Matyszak’s analysis. He said: “By refusing to accept the election results and alleging fraud, Chamisa has kept tensions high. He has also retained support among party cadres that might otherwise have dissipated had he conceded defeat.”

But Matyszak added: “This has been accomplished at considerable cost.”

Six lives according to the government, seven according to the Alliance.

Another cost is the arrest of MDC Alliance partner, Tendai Biti.

Biti had managed to sneak into Zambia but Zambia refused him to grant him asylum and handed him back to the Zimbabwe police.

Human rights activists can complain about the lack of the rule of law but was it not a bit daft for Biti, of all countries, to go to Zambia bearing that country’s relations with Mnangagwa.

This is also a clear indication that the Alliance has no support from key regional leaders- Edgar Lungu, Cyril Ramaphosa, John Magufuli, who have already sent congratulatory messages to Zimbabwe African National Union0Patriotic Front leader.

Biti’s arrest which is associated with the violence that broke out on 1 August could open a can of worms, unless he pleads guilty so that the State does not lead any evidence.

Whispers say some of the things that could come out from Biti’s trial include:

  • Where the MDC Alliance supporters who demonstrated given any alcohol as claimed by a witness on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television?
  • Was alcohol supplied only to those at Harvest House or elsewhere like in Kuwadzana?
  • Who bought the alcohol, from where and distributed it?
  • Who provided the funds for the purchase?
  • Why did people really demonstrate before the full results were out?

Whispers say Biti has the answers to all these questions and could implicate outsiders who fuelled the violence?

The question then would be, why the violence?

Pro-ZANU-PF activist David Matsanga says the aim was not just to discredit the elections but to let the country explode so that western countries could intervene, even militarily.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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