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MDC’s Tendai Biti convicted of breaching electoral laws

Tendai Biti was arrested for announcing results in breach of the electoral laws, which say that only the electoral commission can declare a winner.

FILE: Tendai Biti in Harare on 1 June 2018. Picture: AFP.

HARARE – A court in Zimbabwe has fined top Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official Tendai Biti and has given him a six-month suspended jail term for saying Nelson Chamisa had won last year’s disputed presidential polls.

Biti was arrested for announcing results in breach of the electoral laws, which say that only the electoral commission can declare a winner.

On Monday, at the end of a lengthy trial, Magistrate Gloria Takundwa convicted Biti of breaching electoral laws.

The judge ignored a request from a State prosecutor though to impose a year-long jail term on the politician, who is vice chairman of the MDC.

Instead, she imposed a $200 fine and a six-month suspended jail term.

Emerging from the court shortly before noon, Biti said he would still appeal the sentence.

“I’m innocent; I'm Absolutely innocent. I’m not a criminal, so we will be appealing against that decision.”

Biti also accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of being unstable and said the country had been captured by dangerous people.