ZIMBABWE: POLITICS/SABANEWS/8/8/18 SABANews 1
HARARE – Police in ZIMBABWE have reportedly arrested the leader of the opposition PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY early today, trying to flee the country into ZAMBIA.
TENDAI BITI’s lawyer claims he has been attempting to seek asylum in the neighbouring SADC nation, which he says has an international duty to accommodate him in such capacity.
NQOBIZITHA MLILIO has told the media the arrest of Mr BITI, whose group is part of the opposition MDC ALLIANCE of NELSON CHAMISA, occurred at the northern border post of CHIRUNDU.
The ZIMBABWE Republic Police have issued no confirmation of the alleged detention of the 52-year-old opposition leader, as of now.
Nonetheless, the development comes exactly ONE week after violent protests allegedly led by Mr BITI and a number of other senior members of the MDC ALLIANCE last WEDNESDAY.
At least SIX people were killed in the streets of the capital, HARARE, after soldiers reinforcing overwhelmed police details opened fire, plunging the city into panic and fear.
Police Spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner CHARITY CHARAMBA issued a statement calling on Mr BITI and MDC Youth Leader HAPPYMORE CHIDZIVA to hand themselves over for questioning.
However, Mr BITI reportedly addressed the media a day after saying the police had told his lawyers the law-enforcement agents no longer wanted him; giving the impression that he was off the hook.
Meanwhile, the authorities seem to view the unfolding events as linking neatly with the 2018 election campaigns – when the youthful opposition leaders warned of violence if they lost the ballots.
MDC ALLIANCE Leader NELSON CHAMISA is on record saying he will not accept any results unless they are in his favour, threatening to shut down HARARE City if he did not win.
The Electoral Commission was still in the middle of announcing the National Assembly ballot results when the opposition supporters stormed the Central Business District, peacefully initially – after which they started burning and looting as they warmed up.
Mr CHAMISA later addressed a press conference saying the protestors were not members of his group, even if they chanted his name, but the MDC ALLIANCE lawyer is representing their arrested colleagues in court.
While the authorities in ZIMBABWE still have to announce what charges Mr BITI is facing, his legal representatives have already declared him innocent./Sabanews/cam