Biti invited for mental health ‘treatment’ and counselling in SA

A SOUTH AFRICAN non-governmental organisation has invited MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Tendai Biti to the neighbouring country to undergo post-traumatic stress disorder treatment and counselling after he allegedly endured torture at the hands of security agents when he was arrested trying to seek asylum in neighbouring Zambia recently.

This was disclosed by Biti’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo, when he applied for a temporary release of the former Finance minister’s passport before Harare magistrate, Francis Mapfumo yesterday.

Biti is facing charges of violating the Electoral Act after he allegedly announced that MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa had won the July 30 presidential poll. He also stands accused of border jumping.

Nkomo told court that he is asking for the temporary release of Biti’s passport from yesterday to October 23 to allow his client to undergo post-traumatic disorder treatment at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) counselling services.

“Over and above, Biti wants to travel to Tunisia to attend a conference by Pan African Lawyers Union. He was selected together with Precious Chakasikwa by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to represent Zimbabwe at the conference which starts from today to 30 September, including travel dates,” he said.

Nkomo submitted a letter of invite written by the CSVR which reads:

“We have been following your situation since 8 August 2018. We hereby invite you to receive mental health service at our clinic. Our clinicians have over 10 years’ experience working with victims towards healing from the impact of their trauma experiences.”

The State represented by chief law officer Michael Reza opposed the application, saying the court cannot review its own ruling when it placed Biti on initial remand.

Reza said Biti has never said he has a mental health problem and noted that the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who had nominated Biti for the Tunisia trip, were also challenging the decision to take away Biti’s passport.

Magistrate Mapfumo postponed the matter to today for ruling.


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