Biti pleads not guilty, demands access to ZEC server

THE trial of Tendai Biti kicked off today at the Harare Magistrates Courts, with the MDC Deputy Chairman and prominent human rights lawyer pleading not guilty to charges of contravening the Electoral Act.

Biti is facing charges of inciting post-election violence. He is also facing charges of contravening Section 66A (1) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13, which prohibits the unofficial or false declaration of election results.

During trial, the state denied to grant Biti access to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission server on the basis that they (the state) do not think the information it contains is relevant to his defence.

Biti’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa had argued that the information on the server is relevant to his defence in that if the ZEC server shows that he was merely reporting what he had received based on polling station results (as he is entitled to do in terms of section 66A(3) of the Electoral Act), he will be deemed innocent.

Human rights lawyer Doug Coltart said: “ZEC holds the server on behalf of the Zimbabwean electorate. It does not hold it on behalf of ZANU-PF or Mnanagagwa.

“ZEC must explain why it is refusing to release the server. The people of Zimbabwe deserve to know. And Biti is entitled to that information for his defence.”

The trial continues tomorrow.


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