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Thursday, 26 June 2008

Biti walks free from court

One bright moment in a grim week

Tendai Biti, the secretary-general of Zimbabwe's opposition MDC, was set free by a Harare court yesterday, Thursday, just in time for the world's most pointless election.

It was the one bright moment in an otherwise depressing week as, despite international pressure reaching an unprecedented pitch, Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF junta refused to postpone or call off today's one-man presidential re-run poll.

With Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, refusing to take part in the poll, no-one can forecast how the people will react to what is clearly a farce being enacted before their eyes. But few expect any lessening of the government-inspired violence that has rocked the country in the past weeks.

Biti, who had been facing charges of treason which carry the death penalty, plus other charges relating to making false statements, and one ludicrous charge of insulting the president, was arrested two weeks ago.

The court set his bail at one trillion Zimbabwe dollars - that's roughly one hunded pounds or two hundred US dollars at the time of writing. But it set severe conditions. He must remain in his home, hand in his passport and the deeds to his house, and report to the police once a week.

But the court gave us a brief indication that justice is not entirely a lost cause here yet, when it stated that the evidence against Biti appeared to be "weak".

Biti himself told reporters that conditions in prison accurately reflect the state of the country.

"People are dying in there. People have no food. People have no blankets. It is a depressing place, it really attacks your morale, your strength. So I am tired now - but the struggle continues."


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This is frustrating. People are suffering and it seems like nothing is being done about it. We need more than public statement condemning Mugabe's actions. We need to secure the safety of the citizens of Zimbabwe.

There is an online petition directed towards the U.N. Security Council and the neighboring Southern African nations to put more pressure on Mugabe.

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