Zimbabwean Politician Jailed for Attacking Investor

Breaking News from Zimbabwe and Beyond

by Motoni Olodun

A former finance minister of Zimbabwe, Tendai Biti, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for assaulting a foreign investor in 2019. Biti, who is also the vice president of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was found guilty of attacking a Lebanese businessman, Taher Zoghbi, at a hotel in Harare.

According to the court, Biti accused Zoghbi of being involved in a corrupt deal with the ruling party, ZANU-PF, to buy a state-owned bank. Biti then punched and kicked Zoghbi, who suffered injuries and filed a complaint. Biti denied the charges and claimed that he was acting in self-defense after Zoghbi provoked him.

Biti’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said that the conviction was politically motivated and that they would appeal the verdict. She argued that the prosecution failed to prove that Biti had any intention to harm Zoghbi and that the evidence was fabricated. She also said that Biti was a victim of selective prosecution and that the case was meant to silence his criticism of the government.

Biti is a prominent figure in Zimbabwean politics and a vocal opponent of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came to power after a military coup that ousted former leader Robert Mugabe in 2017. Biti has been arrested several times on various charges, including treason, inciting violence, and violating electoral laws. He has also faced harassment and intimidation from the security forces and ZANU-PF supporters.

The MDC condemned the conviction and said that it was part of a wider crackdown on dissent and human rights in Zimbabwe. The party said that Biti was being persecuted for his role in exposing corruption and demanding electoral reforms. The party also called for the release of all political prisoners and the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in the country.

The conviction of Biti has also drawn international criticism and concern. The United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom have urged the Zimbabwean authorities to respect the rights and freedoms of the opposition and civil society. They have also called for an end to the use of the judiciary as a tool of repression and for the implementation of political and economic reforms.

Despite the challenges and setbacks, Biti and the MDC have vowed to continue their struggle for a better and more inclusive Zimbabwe. They have expressed their hope that the people of Zimbabwe will not give up on their aspirations for change and justice.


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