Zimbabwe thrust back into turmoil
Senior opposition leader detained after asylum bid fails in neighbouring Zambia
Tendai Biti’s lawyer says he was “unlawfully abducted.”
“We will keep on fighting,” Biti said as he arrived at court in the capital, Harare. The charge of inciting public violence could bring up to a decade in prison, while the charge of declaring unofficial election results carries a maximum six-month sentence. He was granted $5,000 bail but must surrender his passport, report to authorities twice a day and not address political rallies.
Biti’s plight has raised concerns that the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who narrowly won the first election after the fall of Robert Mugabe, will treat the opposition just as harshly as before despite promises of reforms. The opposition says it is preparing a legal challenge to the election results, calling them fraudulent.
Shortly after Biti’s hearing, Mnangagwa said he had been released “following my intervention,” without giving details. In a series of posts on Twitter, the president said the case would continue “due to the serious nature of the allegations.” He called on all parties to cease incitement and violence.