There was drama at Tendai Biti’s trial on Tuesday after the lawyers representing Mr. Biti told presiding Magistrate Takundwa that a member of the prosecuting authority had insulted the magistrate.
“Prosecutor Michael Reza attempted to interfere with court proceedings after he allegedly criticised Magistrate Takundwa as either “stupid” or “brave” after she granted a ruling allowing live streaming of trial. Reza sent a message to his counterpart Tabani Mpofu.”
Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Fortune Chasi said, “I think one needs lots of courage to say that to a judicial officer”
The Magistrate said she is referring the matter to the High Court for guidance.
#Twimbos Michael Reza from the National Prosecuting Authority allegedly said Magistrate Takundwa is “stupid or brave” for granting a ruling allowing a liveStream of @BitiTendai trial without getting permission from bosses. What are your thoughts on this? #BitiTrial @InfoMinZW
Here is the whatsapp message from Michael Reza castigating magistrate Takundwa for allowing liveStream in court #BitiTrial @InfoMinZW @nickmangwana @Wamagaisa @advocatemahere @JessieFMajome @edmnangagwa @misazimbabwe @DubekoPrince @KalabashMedia @TheFeedZW @cemambo pic.twitter.com/Z29JfZ2ARS
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Biti is facing charges of announcing the just-ended 30 July election results, a mandate that is the sole duty of the electoral body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), and declaring the MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa as the presidential race winner.
Further, Biti is being accused of having a hand in the post-election violence that saw the military intervening and shooting indiscriminately at protesters and unarmed civilians resulting in the death of six people and several injured.
United States’ Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Matthew Harrington in a statement to the Senate Committee on foreign relations last week said Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government should drop charges against former finance minister and opposition leader Tendai Biti to prove that the Harare administration is “serious about taking the country in a new, more positive direction”.