OPPOSITION MDC Alliance co-vice president Tendai Biti was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID)yesterday for allegedly calling a Russian woman, Tatiana Aleshina, an ‘idiot” at the Harare Magistrates’ Court early this week.
Biti’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, said the top politician had been charged for assault and will be detained overnight at the Harare Central Police Station, and is expected to appear in court today (Saturday).
“He is charged with assault as defined in section 89 of the Criminal Codification Act. He is alleged to have pointed a finger at a certain woman called Tatiana Aleshina at court,” Muchadehama said.
The arrest comes less than 24 hours after ruling Zanu-PF acting national spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa demanded that police must arrest Biti for assaulting a Ms Tatiana Aleshina, a 54-year-old white lady on Monday.
Following the arrest Biti tweeted:
I have been stuck at CID Law & Order since 11 am being charged with the most spurious ,the most desperate of all charges . It is said I called someone an idiot&that is said to be an assault .No amount of harassment will prevent us from fighting & exposing corruption.
Party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the assault charges levelled against the Harare East lawmaker were spurious and a “diversionary tactic” by the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“He did not assault this woman. The real issue is he (Biti) is unearthing corruption scandals relating to a land deal along the (Robert Gabriel Mugabe) Airport Road during Ignatius Chombo’s time,” she said.
“This lady is one of the people who signed that dubious agreement following a court order that set aside the deal. So VP Biti as the chairperson of the Public Accounts Parliamentary Committee was unearthing the scandal. So this is a diversionary tactic.”
Police had hinted that the woman in question was having a property wrangle with one of Biti’s clients when the assault allegedly occurred on Monday at the courts.
Mahere and Sikhala also tweeted in support of Biti.
The arrest & detention of @BitiTendai are most regrettable. It’s not a crime to call a person an “idiot”. It doesn’t constitute assault under s89 of the Code. This is abuse of the law to silence Biti & divert attention from the Airport Rd scandal which he’s unearthing.#FreeBiti
The arrest of my brother and Vice president Tendai Biti is not only stupid but evil and satanic. He reported to the Police after they requested him to report. They then refused to take him to Court today. Evil breeds madness.